President Donald Trump has said that U.S. sanctions were a sticking point in his talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam’s capital.
"It was about the sanctions," Trump told reporters in Hanoi on February 28 after the two-day summit ended without agreement on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
"Basically, they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn't do that," the U.S. president added.
Still, Trump said Kim assured him that Pyongyang will continue to hold off on nuclear and missile tests.
However, North Korea contradicted Trump's account, saying that it had only asked for partial sanctions relief.
"What we proposed was not the removal of all sanctions, but the partial removal," North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters in Hanoi.
"If the United States partially removes sanctions, specifically the articles that affect the civilian economy and, in particular, the livelihood of all people, we will permanently and completely remove all the nuclear production facilities in the Yongbyon area," he said, referring to North Korea’s main nuclear site.
Earlier in the day, Trump and Kim departed the summit venue in Hanoi in separate motorcades earlier than planned, and a planned joint agreement signing ceremony was scrapped.
"Sometimes you have to walk, and this was one of those times," Trump said.
As he began his second day of talks with Trump in Hanoi’s Metropole Hotel, Kim said: “From what I feel right now, I do have a feeling that good results will come out.”
The remarks, made through an interpreter, were believed to be the first ever by the reclusive leader in response to a question by a foreign reporter.
The two leaders' historic meeting in Singapore in June 2018 -- the first between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader -- produced a vague statement in which Kim pledged to work toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
However, there has been little sign of progress since.