North Korea's state media acknowledges 'no deal' Hanoi summit for the first time

People in Pyongyang read the Rodong Sinmun newspaper that carried a front-page picture showing North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un shaking hands with US President Donald Trump during a summit in Hanoi on Feb 28, 2019.
People in Pyongyang read the Rodong Sinmun newspaper that carried a front-page picture showing North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un shaking hands with US President Donald Trump during a summit in Hanoi on Feb 28, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL (AFP) - North Korea's state media on Friday (March 8) acknowledged for the first time the collapse of the summit between its leader Kim Jong Un and United States President Donald Trump last week without a deal.

The high-stakes meeting in Vietnam was supposed to build on the leaders' historic first summit in Singapore last year, but ended without any agreement on walking back North Korea's nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief.

Pyongyang's official KCNA news agency, however, had made no mention of the breakdown of the high-stakes summit until Friday.

"The public at home and abroad... are feeling regretful, blaming the US for the summit that ended without an agreement," an editorial published by KCNA wrote.

In the aftermath of the summit's abrupt ending, each side sought to blame the other's intransigence for the deadlock.

But immediately after the summit North Korean media said only that Pyongyang and Washington have agreed to continue "productive" discussions on denuclearisation.

The following day Rodong Sinmun, the North's state-run newspaper, carried a front-page picture that showed Mr Kim and Mr Trump shaking hands.

 
 

Following the stalemate in Hanoi, researchers said this week that Pyongyang was rebuilding the Sohae long-range rocket site that Mr Kim had agreed last year to shut as part of confidence-building measures.

Mr Trump said he would be "very, very disappointed" if the reports proved true.