North Korea Believes Trump Was Open to Easing Sanctions at Hanoi Summit

Kim 'shocked' by new US list of undisclosed nuclear sites

New information has emerged on the failed Hanoi summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un, with South Korea acting as a sort of intermediary for getting such information to the press. This includes a belief by North Korea that Trump was open to the idea of easing sanctions on North Korea during the summit.

Trump was apparently open to sanctions relief so long as he had some sort of “snapback clause” to reimpose them in the future. The arrival of John Bolton threw the entire process into disarray, according to the North Koreans, as the entire mood turned hostile, and many new obstacles suddenly appeared in the US position.

By contrast officials say they believe Kim was “shocked” by the US presented list of nuclear facilities in North Korea, which included a lot of undisclosed facilities, and more than North Korea figured the US knew about.

This was brought in amid talk of dismantling all underground facilities, and in particular centering on the main Yongbyon nuclear site, which included not just the facility itself, but the underground sites in the area.

Indications out of the last day of Hanoi were tht the deal on the table was for some sanctions relief, with Trump’s insisted snapback, in return for all of Yongbyon. When Kim confirmed he was comfortable with that, and that “all” of Yongbyon included the nearby sites, Trump suddenly responded that he needed “more than that.” In short order, he’d walked out entirely.

That a deal was to be had, and that Trump walked out earlier than the talk was intended to end, has led North Korea to try to blame the US for the failure. South Korea has tried to recover the deal, and similarly has felt the US needs to be willing to let a deal happen.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of