Call it The Art of the Deal.
President Donald Trump's summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un collapsed when North Korea demanded that the US-led sanctions be lifted.
"Basically, they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, but we couldn't do that ... we had to walk away from it," Trump said.
International sanctions have crippled the North Korean economy for years, and Kim, as expected, demanded that sanctions be lifted in exchange for dismantling the hermit kingdom's nuclear program. Trump cut the talks short once it became clear Kim would not commit to total denuclearization, a goal the two of them agreed upon during their Singapore summit in 2018.
It was a harsh blow for a president who'd earlier assured his reporters that talks were going swimmingly.
The summit's failure opened up Trump, who ascended to the presidency partly by stoking an image of himself as "the great dealmaker," to Art of the Deal jokes, a reference to his bestselling book ghostwritten by author––and now ardent Trump critic––Tony Schwartz.
In the week before the summit, which took place in Hanoi, Vietnam, diplomats on both sides expressed a desire to discuss a possible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. The Korean community in Vietnam is 60,000 strong and has expressed hope that the summit could mark an important step to Korean reunification.
We can't pass the divided Korean peninsula [on] to our next generation. We fully welcome the summit which may resolve the 70 years of our division," Yoon Sang-ho, chairman of the Korean Association in Hanoi, told reporters last week. "Koreans in Hanoi wish the next generations of ours to live in a conflict-free Korean peninsula. I strongly wish this summit would bring pragmatic peace to the region."
Peace will have to wait, but hey, at least Trump has a fan in Kim's best friend, Dennis Rodman:
This would be funny if it weren't so sad.