US lawmakers from both the Republican and Democratic parties backed President Donald Trump’s decision on Thursday to walk away from a deal with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un during their second summit in Vietnam.
“It’s good the president did not give him (Kim) anything for the little that he was proposing,” Democrat US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said during a press conference on Thursday. “They wanted lifting of sanctions without the denuclearization, I’m glad the president walked away from that. Diplomacy is important, we always support it, but the process for success seemed dim in light of the insincerity.”
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Trump should be commended for leaving the talks once it became clear that insufficient progress had been made toward denuclearization.
“I hope that China and other countries with influence over Kim Jong Un will do their part to urge him to return to the negotiating table and seize the opportunity to bring prosperity to the people of North Korea and peace and stability to the Korean peninsula, and to the region,” he said.
The second summit between the United States and North Korea abruptly came to an end earlier on Thursday after Trump chose to walk away from the negotiating table following disagreements with Kim on the outline of a deal.
US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Bob Menendez said he credits Trump for not giving up any concessions to North Korea.
“It’s better not to go ahead and enter into a bad deal,” he told CNN in an interview on Thursday.
But Menendez maintained that the Trump administration lacks a strategy to understand North Korea’s position and persuade Pyongyang to alter course.
Some members of Congress said the collapse of the summit signaled a need to ratchet up sanctions on North Korea. Congressman Brad Sherman said only punitive measures could pave the way for a better deal with Pyongyang, urging the Trump administration to tighten sanctions.
Senator Cory Gardner said the administration must not offer normalization without denuclearization, calling for full sanctions, a robust military posture and the international isolation of North Korea in coordination with US allies and partners.
Despite the praise Trump received for walking away from the summit, Pelosi and Menendez said Kim’s moment in the international spotlight was a big victory and had given the North Korean leader new relevance.
Trump said earlier on Thursday that he decided to walk away from the Hanoi summit after the North Korean leader demanded full sanctions relief.
Trump explained that the North Korean leader was willing to denuclearize some parts of the country, but not the critical sites that the United States wanted — and Washington was not ready to lift all sanctions against North Korea under that kind of arrangement.
However, Trump highlighted that Kim promised he will continue to not conduct any missile or nuclear tests.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at a meeting with North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Ri Kil-song on Thursday that both sides need to be patient, continue a dialogue, and work tirelessly to achieve their goals.