President Trump showed Thursday that sometimes getting a deal just right takes time and, importantly, knowing when to walk away and try again later.
Trump traveled to Vietnam to score a deal with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un and spent two days negotiating before he decided enough was enough and that a deal could not be reached.
Day one seemed promising as the two leaders told a group of reporters that they were both in good spirits and ready to make a deal. Confidence gleamed, but once pen came to paper, the two men could not agree to terms.
From the Associated Press:
Talks between President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un collapsed Thursday after the two sides failed to bridge a standoff over U.S. sanctions, a dispiriting end to high-stakes meetings meant to disarm a global nuclear threat.
Trump blamed the breakdown on North Korea’s insistence that all the punishing sanctions the U.S. has imposed on Pyongyang be lifted without the North committing to eliminate its nuclear arsenal.
“Sometimes you have to walk,” Trump explained at a closing news conference after the summit was abruptly cut short. He said there had been a proposed agreement that was “ready to be signed.”
“I’d much rather do it right than do it fast,” Trump said. “We’re in position to do something very special.”
And, Associated Press adds: “The disintegration of talks came after Trump and Kim had appeared to be ready to inch toward normalizing relations between their still technically warring nations and as the American leader dampened expectations that their negotiations would yield an agreement by North Korea to take concrete steps toward ending a nuclear program that Pyongyang likely sees as its strongest security guarantee.”
After the negotiations had faltered, President Trump plainly told a group of reporters the reason was about the sanctions.
“Basically, they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety and we couldn’t do that. They were able to denuke a large portion of the areas that we wanted but we couldn’t give up all of the sanctions,” Trump said.
The U.S. president said there is hope for scoring a deal in the future and that his negotiating team would continue to work.
“We had to walk away from that particular suggestion. we had to walk away from that,” Trump re-iterated.
The Associated Press reports the United States may also open a liaison office in North Korea—a historic action:
Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.
The two leaders had seemed to find a point of agreement when Kim, who fielded questions from American journalists for the first time, was asked if the U.S. may open a liaison office in North Korea. Trump declared it “not a bad idea,” and Kim called it “welcomable.” Such an office would mark the first U.S. presence in North Korea and a significant grant to a country that has long been deliberately starved of international recognition.
But questions persisted throughout the summit, including whether Kim was willing to make valuable concessions, what Trump would demand in the face of rising domestic turmoil and whether the meeting could yield far more concrete results than the leaders’ first summit, a meeting in Singapore less than a year ago that was long on dramatic imagery but short on tangible results.
There had long been skepticism that Kim would be willing to give away the weapons his nation had spent decades developing and Pyongyang felt ensured its survival. But even after the summit ended, Trump praised Kim’s commitment to continue a moratorium on missile testing.