No Agreement in Hanoi

The Hanoi summit is over early and President Trump says no agreement was reached. “There is a gap,” he said, and the gap is that Kim Jong-un wanted all sanctions on North Korea lifted but was not willing to eliminate his nuclear arsenal in return. Trump was very vague about this, saying that Kim was willing to “denuclearize large portions of the areas we wanted”—whatever that means—but this was not enough to justify ending the sanctions. I wouldn’t take this to mean very much. On the contrary, my guess is that Kim wouldn’t agree to reduce his existing nuclear arsenal at all.

“We could have signed an agreement but I didn’t think it would be appropriate,” Trump said—though that sounds like a typical Trump lie. Kim left the summit quickly without doing even a joint press appearance with Trump, and that doesn’t suggest a super amicable walkaway no matter what Trump and Mike Pompeo say.

This abrupt ending to the summit doesn’t speak well for Pompeo’s negotiating team either. Whatever happened in that final negotiating session, it’s obvious that neither side was prepared for it. Normally, if talks break down you have at least a few small objectives in the bag that both sides can agree to in a public ceremony. The fact that this didn’t happen means that either the prep for this meeting produced literally nothing or else that Kim was so unhappy about the sanctions that he stalked out when it became obvious they would continue.

And that’s it. Trump ended the press conference in typical style, blaming his failure on previous presidents who “did nothing, absolutely nothing.” Charming to the end.

MORE HARD-HITTING JOURNALISM

In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones, a special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.