North Korea has acknowledged for the first time that February’s Hanoi summit between its leader, Kim Jong Un, and US President Donald Trump ended “unexpectedly without an agreement.”
Despite previously painting the Trump-Kim summit in Vietnam in a positive light, state news agency KCNA said on Friday that the meeting hadn’t gone as well as expected.
“The public at home and abroad that had hoped for success and good results from the second DPRK-US summit in Hanoi are feeling regretful, blaming the US for the summit that ended unexpectedly without an agreement,” the report said.
KCNA had previously showcased the Trump-Kim summit through a carefully edited documentary, presenting a triumphant arrival by Kim in his bullet-proof train, to huge crowds lining the streets for a glimpse of his motorcade.
The US hoped the summit would demonstrate the success of Trump’s diplomatic gamble with North Korea, but instead the meeting ended with no joint agreement, after Kim demanded all US sanctions be lifted on his country.
“Sometimes you have to walk,” Trump said during a news conference following the conclusion of the talks, which broke up earlier than planned. “This was just one of those times.”
Friday’s acknowledgment from North Korea comes after satellite images appeared to show that the country had begun rebuilding a portion of a facility previously used to test long-range missile engines, raising questions about the future of US-North Korea negotiations.
Speaking Wednesday, Trump said it was “too early to see” whether Kim had restarted the country’s missile testing program but added that he would be “very disappointed” if that turned out to be the case.