North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met top Vietnamese leaders at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi on Friday to cement ties with communist state before leaving the city empty-handed, as Washington and Pyongyang continued to blame each other for failed denuclearisation talks . Kim, who remained in the city after his two-day summit with US President Donald Trump, met Vietnam ’s President Nguyen Phu Trong at around 3:30pm. As Kim arrived at the palace, a Vietnamese marching band in white uniforms played while dozens of children waved flags of the two communist states in welcome. How Trump and the US fell for Kim Jong-un’s deadly strategic deception Kim met Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and National Assembly Chairwomen Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan later in the day before attending a banquet with the Vietnamese officials. “I would like to show gratitude to my Vietnamese comrades for providing everything needed,” Kim told Trong, without mentioning the collapsed talks from the day before. Meanwhile, the president emphasised the bilateral relations that started during the era of Kim Il-sung – Kim Jong-un’s grandfather – and vowed to have closer ties with the hermit kingdom. Despite the warm words exchanged by the leaders, experts noted that the visit remained symbolic. Zhang Baohui, a professor of political science and director of the Centre for Asian Pacific Studies at Lingnan University in Hong Kong, said the meeting between Kim and Trong took place just for the sake of formality. Trump-Kim summit 2019: Collapsed talks a risk for North Korea with silver linings for China and Japan “The two needed to meet simply because Kim is in the country,” Zhang said. “But at the same time, it may also suggest that Kim is interested in the Vietnamese model of economic reforms. Vietnam, rather than China, is a more relevant model for North Korea because of its size and level of economic development.” Kim and Trong’s meeting took place after Washington and Pyongyang exchanged barbs overnight, blaming each other for the summit’s failure. “Basically [North Korea] wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, but we couldn’t do that … we had to walk away from it,” US President Donald Trump said after the two sides cancelled a planned signing ceremony. But North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho, who staged a surprise late-night press conference, said this was untrue. “What we have asked for was a partial lifting of sanctions, not in their entirety,” Ri said. “In detail, we asked to lift five sanctions that were imposed within 2016 and 2017, out of a total of 11 sanctions, which affect ordinary people’s livelihoods.” Forget Trump and Kim – North Korea’s first sister Kim Yo-jong lurks, hovers and steals the spotlight His comments were in turn rebutted by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who on Friday reaffirmed that Pyongyang had insisted on the full removal of sanctions, but gave no specifics on what it was prepared to offer on dismantling the Yongbyon nuclear facility. Senior North Korean diplomat Choe Son-hui told reporters on Friday that she was “not sure whether there is a need to continue such summits in the future”. Meanwhile, Beijing on Friday said the notion of lifting sanctions should be regarded as “common ground”, while it welcomed the “positive will” expressed by the US and North Korea to maintain communications. “Both sides believe that the lifting of sanctions is an important component of the denuclearisation process,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Kang said at a regular news briefing. Beijing has long been supportive of Pyongyang’s more gradual denuclearisation approach, known as “phased and synchronised measures”, which would see it enjoy economic sweeteners from the international community as it implements denuclearisation measures. “The permanent shutdown of the Yongbyon facility is without a doubt a very important first step in the denuclearisation of North Korea,” said Cheong Seong-chang, vice-president of research planning at the Sejong Institute. Trump-Kim summit 2019: A meeting of ‘two stubborn toddlers’ hoping to play each other for suckers? “Nevertheless, the measure itself is not strong enough to persuade sceptics in the US … North Korea must take more bold measures, including shutting down other nuclear facilities or dismantling its [Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles].” Kim is due to visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum on Saturday before his train leaves Hanoi via Dong Dang, on the border with China. Experts say the North Korean leader may stop over in Beijing to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping. “Kim’s train journey would enable a Xi-Kim summit on his way back to Pyongyang, [giving them] the opportunity to debrief about the summit,” Cheong said.