What was the point of Donald Trump meeting Kim Jong Un twice in two years? What was the point of this two-day summit?
Almost as soon Mr Trump said he planned to meet the North Korean dictator possibly in Vietnam, everyone knew Season 2 of the Trump-Kim Show would have to different from the first.
Season 2 would need to advance the largely symbolic agreement announced in Singapore and flesh out the core of what denuclearization will look like.
That this was always wishful thinking quickly became evident from Mr Trump’s attempt in the run-up to the Hanoi summit to dismiss what actually emerges after he meets Mr Kim. The US president tried to create the conditions to declare the summit a success regardless of the outcome.
Mr Trump also said he was in “no rush” for North Korea to give up its weapons. North Korea matched that with silence on any timetable for the process of denuclearisation. Finally, Mr Trump suggested his meeting with Mr Kim in Hanoi won’t be their last. What he probably meant was many US-North Korea summits, at least for as long as Mr Trump is US president. But it didn’t mean North Korea wouldn’t continue to retain its status as a nuclear weapons state.
With the end of Day 2, I would venture the curtain has come down on the Trump-Kim Show. Unless Mr Trump is re-elected in 2020.
Originally published at www.rashmee.com on February 28, 2019.