AP NEWS

Donald Trump, Kim Jong-un ending summit early, joint agreement appears in doubt

February 28, 2019

HANOI, Vietnam President Trump’s denuclearization summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was being cut short Thursday and a planned signing ceremony was in doubt on the second day of talks.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said negotiations were ongoing but would wrap up at the summit site earlier than planned.

The White House acknowledged a “program change” and moved up a press conference with Mr. Trump by two hours.

Earlier Thursday, the president said they were having “very good discussions.“Asked if he was serious about giving up his weapons program, Mr. Kim said, “If I was not, I wouldn’t be here.”

Another reporter asked if he was willing to take concrete steps to denuclearize. Mr. Kim said: “That’s what we are discussing right now.”

A planned luncheon between the two leaders also was apparentlyscrapped. Instead, Mr. Trump’s motorcade was preparing to leave thehotel where the summit was taking place.

The second summit between the two men began with smiles and handshakes Wednesday as Mr. Trump sought more clarity from the North Korean leader on the steps he would be willing to take to dismantle his nuclear weapons program. They had started the process at a breakthrough summit in Singapore last June.

Mr. Trump had been lowering expectations for the second round of talks, cautioning the media that he was in “no rush” to get a comprehensive agreement as long as Mr. Kim continued to honor his pledge not to conduct any more missile tests.

The president repeated his cautions earlier Thursday, saying, “No matter what happens we’ll ultimately have a deal that’s really good for Chairman Kim and his country.”

“That’s where it’s all leading,” Mr. Trump predicted. “It doesn’t mean we’re doing it in one day, in one meeting. .. I really believe with this great leadership North Korea, I really believe it’s going to be very successful.”

But the president also emphasized, “We just want to do the right deal. Chairman Kim and myself, we want to do the right deal. Speed is not important. What’s important is that we do the right deal.”