The meeting between the North's leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump broke up in disarray Thursday, with a signing ceremony cancelled and no joint communique issued.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un (L) and US President Donald Trump meet for the second North Korea-US summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, in this photo released on March 1, 2019.
North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un (L) and US President Donald Trump meet for the second North Korea-US summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, in this photo released on March 1, 2019. (Reuters)

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Friday promised further negotiations with the United States, as both sides sought to hold open the door while staking out their positions after their Hanoi summit failed to produce a nuclear deal.

Each sought to blame the other's intransigence for the deadlock, with US President Donald Trump saying on Thursday after negotiations stalled that he walked away because Pyongyang wanted the lifting of all sanctions imposed on it over its banned weapons programmes.

The DPRK foreign minister on Thursday evening contradicted Trump's account, saying Pyongyang had only wanted some of the measures eased, and that its offer to close "all the nuclear production facilities" at its Yongbyon complex was the best deal it could ever offer.

TRT World's Philip Owira reports.

The North's official KCNA news agency on Friday reported that the two leaders had nevertheless had a "constructive and candid exchange."

Relations between the two countries, on opposite sides of the technically still unfinished Korean War, had been "characterised by mistrust and antagonism" for decades, KCNA said, and there were "inevitable hardships and difficulties" on the way to forging a new relationship.

It described the Hanoi meeting as "successful" and said Kim had promised Trump another encounter.

Similarly, Trump said before leaving the Vietnamese capital that he hoped to meet Kim again.

"Sometimes you have to walk and this was just one of those times," an unusually downbeat Trump told reporters.

"I'd much rather do it right than do it fast," he said, while reaffirming his "close relationship" with Kim. "There's a warmth that we have and I hope that stays, I think it will."

TRT World's Bruce Harrison in Seoul and Harry Horton in Washington DC have more on the story.

'Billions of dollars'

The outcome in Hanoi fell far short of the pre-meeting expectations and hopes, after critics said their initial historic meeting in Singapore on June 12, 2018 – which produced only a vague commitment from Kim to work "toward complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula" – was more style over substance.

According to senior US officials, in the week leading up to the Hanoi summit Pyongyang had demanded the lifting of effectively all the UN Security Council economic sanctions imposed on the DPRK since March 2016.

Before that date, the measures were largely focused on preventing technology transfers, but more recent restrictions were imposed on several valuable industries in an effort to force concessions from Pyongyang, including coal and iron ore exports, seafood, and textile trade.

"It was basically all the sanctions except for armaments," a senior US official told reporters. "It tallies up to the tune of many, many billions of dollars."

In return they were only offering to close a "portion of the Yongbyon complex," a sprawling site covering multiple different facilities – and the North is believed to have other uranium enrichment plants.

Trump had urged Kim to go "all in" to secure a deal, the official said, adding Washington was willing to do so.

"The weapons themselves need to be on the table," he said, pointing to both Pyongyang's existing stock of atomic bombs and the ICBMs with which it can reach the whole of the US mainland.

But the process was continuing and Washington was "encouraged by the opportunities ahead of us," the official said. "There's still ample opportunity to talk."

Source: AFP