The lunch that never was: Trump walks away from North Korea negotiations – National

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The desk was set, with flowers in vases and menus tucked inside white napkins. Water glasses have been crammed. Wicker followers supplied a cool breeze.

However no one got here.

A view of the desk within the room which was speculated to host a working lunch between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean chief Kim Jong Un, that was cancelled, in the course of the second U.S.-North Korea summit on the Metropole Lodge in Hanoi

REUTERS/Leah Millis

“Schedule change,” White Home press secretary Sarah Sanders introduced.

That was the primary indication one thing was up at President Donald Trump’s two-day summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

However what did it imply for the prospects of denuclearizing?

Reporters and photographers assembled to document the leaders’ lunchtime chitchat have been hustled out of the room and finally from constructing in anticipation of Trump’s departure.

Hypothesis swirled.

WATCH: Kim Jong Un says if he wasn’t keen to denuclearize, he ‘wouldn’t be right here proper now’

Was Trump staging an exit as a negotiating tactic to place extra strain on Kim? Would possibly the 2 leaders seem at a joint information convention to announce progress towards a deal?

These theories quickly proved meritless. Trump and Kim’s motorcades left moments aside on diverging routes again to their motels.

In a press release, Sanders stated the summit was over. There was no deal.

The summit that had began amicably sufficient had collapsed.

“Typically it’s important to stroll,” Trump stated at a closing information convention.

U.S. President Donald Trump boards Air Force One after his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, February 28, 2019.

U.S. President Donald Trump boards Air Power One after his summit with North Korean chief Kim Jong Un, at Noi Bai Worldwide Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, February 28, 2019.

REUTERS/Leah Millis

It was a dramatic reversal for a summit that had kicked off Wednesday with pleasant greetings, laughter and many arm-touching by Trump at a luxurious lodge in Hanoi.

When the talks resumed Thursday morning, Kim likened the scene of the 2 leaders, who had as soon as denounced each other as “Little Rocket Man” and “deranged,” sitting facet by facet to a “fantasy film.”

Trump reported that at dinner the evening earlier than, there have been “a whole lot of nice concepts being thrown round.”

By lunchtime, not a lot.

WATCH: Trump calls assembly with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un ‘productive’ however no deal struck

The 2 males met privately within the morning for about 35 minutes after which walked to an out of doors pool space, the place they have been joined by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his North Korean counterpart.

But it surely was humid and the air was sticky, so that they moved to a glass-enclosed, air-conditioned room off the patio.

The 4, plus two interpreters, spoke for about 70 minutes in what was described as an “casual” session.

Trump and Kim took a 15-minute break after which reconvened, this time with extra officers.

At the beginning of that ultimate assembly, journalists invited in for a photograph alternative witnessed one thing exceptional: Kim answering questions from international reporters – not only one, however a number of.

After which he shooed them away.

“In the event you would kindly give us extra time between us, as a result of you recognize one minute, even one minute’s extra treasured to us,” Kim stated by means of a translator.

Subsequent on the schedule was the lunch that by no means occurred, adopted by a signing ceremony for a joint settlement that was marketed on Trump’s public schedule. However there was nothing to signal.

As an alternative, Air Power One took off two hours early. Trump was returning to Washington with out a deal.

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