Kim Jong Un honors Vietnam′s Ho Chi Minh before departing | News | DW | 02.03.2019
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Kim Jong Un honors Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh before departing

The North Korean leader took the unusual step of laying a wreath at the resting place of the communist revolutionary. Kim has now left Vietnam in his armored train after talks with US President Trump fell through.

North Korea's Kim Jong Un paid tribute to Vietnam's communist revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh on Saturday before leaving Vietnam on his personal train. Kim had been in Vietnam for a second summit with US President Donald Trump, which ended abruptly and without a much-hoped-for nuclear deal.

He laid a wreath on the mausoleum, emblazoned with his own name and the message "cherishing the memory of President Ho Chi Minh."

Kim made the unusual stop at the stark concrete monument in Hanoi where Ho Chi Minh's embalmed body is on permanent display. His visit to Vietnam was the first by a North Korean leader since his grandfather Kim Il Sung traveled there in 1964. The elder Kim and Ho Chi Minh were close allies, with Pyongyang sending fighter pilots and psychological warfare specialists to assist the fight against the US and South Vietnam.

Trump and Kim ended negotiations suddenly on Thursday, canceling a prepared signing ceremony and celebratory meal planned to mark a new deal between the two longtime foes.

According to reports, Pyongyang was reluctant to make major concessions on its nuclear weapons program in exchange for the lifting of US economic sanctions. The two leaders walked away from the negotiating table, but said they were open to more talks in the future.

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Trump slammed for 'lavish praise' of 'evil regime'

After calling off the celebrations, Trump, who has often touted his negotiation skills, told reporters that while he admired Kim, he had to leave the talks rather than sign off on a bad deal.

During the press conference, Trump was also asked if he believed Kim Jong Un when he said that he was unaware of the treatment of US student Otto Warmbier, who died as a result of injuries sustained while detained in North Korea.

Warmbier's parents were quick to criticize Trump for his "lavish praise" of Kim, issuing a statement that said: "Kim and his evil regime are responsible for the death of our son Otto. Kim and his evil regime are responsible for unimaginable cruelty and inhumanity." 

The president responded by saying he held North Korea responsible for Warmbier's death, but did not mention Kim specifically.

es/jlw (AFP, AP)

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