Thursday, February 28, 2019

Last Call For Kim's Inconvenience

Donald Trump's dog and pony show in Vietnam collapsed completely as he walked away from the summit table with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un having earned nothing.

President Trump and Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, abruptly ended their second summit meeting on Thursday after talks collapsed with the two leaders failing to agree on any steps toward nuclear disarmament or measures to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

“Sometimes you have to walk,” Mr. Trump said at an afternoon news conference in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam.

He said Mr. Kim had offered to dismantle the North’s most important nuclear facility if the United States lifted the harsh sanctions imposed on his nation — but would not commit to do the same for other elements of its weapons program. That, Mr. Trump said, was a dealbreaker.

“It was about the sanctions,” Mr. Trump said. “Basically they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, but we couldn’t do that.”

The premature end to the negotiations leaves the unusual rapprochement between the United States and North Korea that has unfolded for most of a year at a deadlock, with the North retaining both its nuclear arsenal and facilities believed to be producing additional fissile material for warheads.

It also represents a major setback at a difficult political moment for Mr. Trump, who has long presented himself as a tough negotiator capable of bringing adversaries into a deal and had made North Korea the signature diplomatic initiative of his presidency.

Even as the talks began, Mr. Trump’s longtime lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, was delivering dramatic and damaging testimony in Congress, accusing him of an expansive pattern of lies and criminality.

There's that.  Trump ran away because he had to get back to Washington and deal with the absolute disaster that the Cohen testimony was for him and his family.  They are all going to prison and for a very long time.

Trump will still spin this as a victory, his rabid fanbase will call him brilliant for being "brave" and walking away from a summit that he never could have made an agreement on, but even Trump appeared deflated on this.

He knows he has a much, much bigger problem to deal with back home.

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