Trump-Kim Summit doomed from the outset?

The second summit between Trump and Kim came to an abrupt end without results last week after the two leaders failed to reach an agreement on denuclearisation and the lifting of US sanctions against North Korea at their meeting in Hanoi. Now that all the excitement has died down journalists discuss what the failed summit means.

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Trud (BG) /

Kim won't kowtow to the superpower

Trud looks at why the negotiations between Trump and Kim Jong-un in Hanoi failed:

“The US typically assumes that the opposite side is automatically obliged to make more concessions than the superpower. Kim clearly takes a different view. No doubt he also hasn't forgot that the US introduced new sanctions against North Korea last August even though Kim had his biggest nuclear testing site closed down before the June meeting with Trump in Singapore. Kim therefore obviously came to Hanoi less willing to make compromises in the negotiations and unwilling to denuclearise completely. Because he knows that the only reason Washington is friendly towards him is that he has nuclear weapons.”

Respekt (CZ) /

Trump showed common sense

The weekly paper Respekt praises the US president's course of action:

“You have to credit Trump for showing common sense this time. Kim was no doubt counting on Trump giving in to the temptation to chalk up an international success at all costs. After all, at the same time as the Hanoi summit was under way the man who used to do Trump's dirty work, Michael Cohen, was testifying to the US Congress that his former boss was a liar, a racist and a cheat. Trump, however, didn't try to distract attention from goings on in Washington and preferred to leave the negotiating table without results.”

Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

Boundless contempt for democracy

Dagens Nyheter, by contrast, has no sympathy whatsoever for Trump after the failed summit:

“Trump talks about North Korea's huge potential. The fact is, however, that the communist planned economy is so ineffective that millions of North Koreans go hungry on a regular basis. ... The regime isn't interested in the people's wellbeing but only in its own survival and is unremitting in its repression. Its nuclear weapons, in turn, guarantee that no attacker can come along and topple the Kim dynasty. But Trump's not interested in such details. ... Michael Cohen, who did Trump's dirty work for him for years, has now testified to Congress and called his former boss a racist and a cheat. Hanoi made clear just how great the president's contempt for democracy and human rights is.”

NRC Handelsblad (NL) /

Catastrophe and loss of face

NRC Handelsblad strongly condemns the abrupt end to the meeting between Trump and Kim:

“The failure of the summit is at once a catastrophe and a loss of face. It is the result of a risky, new form of diplomacy in which the controversial issues are not dealt with in advance by lower officials. ... The question now is what the consequences of the failure of the summit will be. Will North Korea start nuclear testing and firing rockets again, and is the entire peace process back where it started?”

Diário de Notícias (PT) /

Now the pragmatic negotiations can begin

Diário de Notícias' reaction to the news from Hanoi is a little more optimistic:

“Although there are many who see the fruitless summit as a failure, the truth is very different: namely that the 'actual' negotiations, those that proceed in small steps, have only just begun. ... Kim wanted an immediate end to the sanctions; Trump said no. Now the pragmatic negotiations, free of excess optimism, can finally get started - and as long as they keep on going they will bring small results that avoid conflicts. North Korea will continue to refrain from nuclear and missile testing. ... The good thing about the summit in Hanoi was basically that after all the mutual praise, Trump and Kim managed not to get furious with each other.”

Jyllands-Posten (DK) /

Not all is lost yet

For Jyllands Posten, too, the aborted meeting was not a total failure:

“The mere fact that Trump managed to initiate a dialogue with such a profoundly irrational and spineless regime speaks in his favour. ... The personal chemistry between political leaders does indeed play a role, and Trump was at pains to convey the impression that even if the summit didn't achieve anything, the will to maintain the dialogue is still there.”

Ekho Moskvy (RU) /

Shattered dreams on both sides

Commenting in Echo of Moscow, Russia's former deputy foreign minister Georgy Kunadse is not surprised that the summit was broken off:

“The US president was clearly hoping to bring back some pretty declaration about the willingness on both sides to bring about the 'denuclearisation' of the Korean Peninsula. Translated into human language this ugly word means the liquidation of the North Korean nuclear weapons - which of course the Norther Korean leader would not go along with. He may be a tyrant but he's not idiotic enough to sacrifice his only trump card. He, for his part, was dreaming of having the US sanctions lifted or relaxed that are smothering his already ailing economy. But the president wouldn't accept this: he isn't a tyrant yet, so who would allow him to do this?”

Delo (SI) /

Kim at a crossroads

Kim is facing major decisions that require careful reflection, writes Delo:

“Since Trump's diplomatic mission is basically directed against China as the only serious challenger to the US's global dominance, Kim must now choose between becoming the winner or simply collateral damage in the big game. If Kim continues to hold the hand of the Chinese President Xi Jinping the love between Kim and Trump could soon descend into 'fire and fury' again. If Kim disarms completely, Trump could give him part of the Nobel Peace Prize he hasn't won.”