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Summit setback: North Korea remains a nuclear arms threat despite presidential diplomacy

Catch up on news from Washington. What's going on this week?
Share a quote praising or defending President Trump.
Turning back to foreign affairs, briefly summarize any international coverage or share a fact you read.

President Trump was optimistic when he flew for 20 hours to Asia last week for a second meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. He hoped for a historic deal ending the Communist nation's nuclear weapons threat in exchange for elimination of American trade restrictions that squeeze North Korea’s economy – something three earlier presidents had tried to accomplish. But Trump also left empty-handed because the dictator wouldn't agree to give up all nuclear weapons, uranium, other materials and bomb-making facilities.

The White House had scheduled a joint signing ceremony to triumphantly conclude the two-day summit in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. But that event and a working luncheon were abruptly canceled because Kim demanded that the United States remove all economic sanctions even though North Korea would shut only some nuclear sites. "Sometimes you have to walk [away], and this was just one of those times," Trump said.

The U.S. president is being praised for resisting an ineffective compromise, though some commentators feel he was over-confident and unrealistic. "The president seemed to be in a headlong rush for any deal that would give him at least the appearance of a foreign policy victory," says a New York Times editorial. Richard Hass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C., comments: "No deal is better than a bad deal, and the president was right to walk. But this should not have happened. A busted summit is the risk you run when too much faith is placed in personal relations with a leader like Kim, when the summit is inadequately prepared and when the president had signaled he was confident of success."

President says: "We had very substantive negotiations with Kim Jong Un – we know what they want and they know what we must have. Relationship very good." – March 1 tweet

Scholar says: "The summit failed because the Trump administration has maintained an inflexible insistence that immediate disarmament is the only acceptable outcome." – Adam Mount, senior fellow at the Federation on American Scientists, a nonprofit group

Columnist says: "While Trump was right to walk in this case, he also seems to have played his hand poorly in the run-up to the summit. . . . He signaled that he eagerly wanted a deal and that 'fantastic success' was likely, all of which probably led Kim to raise demands in the belief that Trump would fold." – Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for, Copyright 2019
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