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U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after their first meeting at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel, Hanoi, Vietnam, Feb. 28, 2019 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

The Hanoi Summit Failed Because the U.S. Doesn’t Understand How Kim Sees the World

Friday, March 1, 2019

The world was riveted this week by the meeting in Hanoi between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. Last year’s initial summit between the two leaders in Singapore created nearly giddy hope for an end to the longstanding hostility between the United States and North Korea, particularly the resolution of the thorniest issue of all: North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program. But a true breakthrough in Vietnam was always unlikely for one pressing reason: Americans persistently fail to understand how Kim sees the world, instead treating him as they want him to be, rather than as he really is.

So it shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise that talks broke down and both sides abruptly walked away from the two-day summit, issuing contradictory explanations of how disagreements over sanctions relief derailed the negotiations. ...

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