File photo: US President Donald Trump. Photograph:( Reuters )
Trump said two days of talks in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi had made good progress in building relations
US President Donald Trump returned to Washington DC Thursday after his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un collapsed over sanctions, and the two sides gave conflicting accounts of what happened, raising questions about the future of their denuclearisation negotiations.
Trump said two days of talks in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi had made good progress in building relations and on the main issue of denuclearisation, but it was important not to rush into a bad deal. He said he had walked away because of unacceptable North Korean demands.
"It was all about the sanctions," Trump told a news conference after the talks were cut short. "Basically, they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn't do that."
However, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told a news conference past midnight and hours after Trump left Hanoi that North Korea had sought only a partial lifting of sanctions "related to people's livelihoods and unrelated to military sanctions".
He said it had offered a realistic proposal involving the dismantling of all of its main nuclear site at Yongbyon, including plutonium and uranium facilities, by engineers from both countries.
North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui told the same briefing she had the impression that Kim "might lose his willingness to pursue a deal" after the U.S. side rejected a partial lifting of sanctions in return for the destruction of Yongbyon, "something we had never offered before".
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, asked about North Korea's statements, said the president was aware of the comments and the White House had nothing to add to what Trump said at the Hanoi news conference.