The second Trump / Kim summit ended early as the two leaders found themselves at an impasse. Kim Jong Un wanted immediate and full sanctions relief in exchange for partial denuclearization, and President Trump was not prepared to agree to that.
“It was about the sanctions,” Trump said. “Basically, they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn’t do that. They were willing to denuke a large portion of the areas that we wanted, but we couldn’t give up all of the sanctions for that.”Fox News
The lack of any deal does not mean that gains were not made at the summit.
Vietnam obviously gained, with a visit by a U.S. President who heaped praise upon it while completely ignoring its communist rule. Respect was expected, once the site was agreed upon. Effusive praise was unnecessary.
Kim Jong Un was officially absolved of responsibility in the death of Otto Warmbier, an American citizen held for years in North Korea.
“He felt badly about it. He felt very badly,” Trump said at a news conference after his second summit with Kim, after saying they discussed the matter privately. “He tells me that he didn’t know about it and I will take him at his word.”CNN
Kim gained a relief from pressure about denuclearization, save for the ongoing sanctions. By providing the statement that he was in “no rush”, President Trump indicated a willingness to let the current arrangement continue for an unspecified time.
Kim was also further normalized into the position of a regular world leader, rather than the head of an isolated regime that regularly incarcerates entire families. This was underscored by his willingness to answer a question from the foreign press.
The initial reply was to a question on whether he was feeling confident about a deal that was asked by David Nakamura of the Washington Post, the day’s designated print reporter for the White House press.Voice of America
Kim replied in Korean: “It’s too early to tell. I won’t prejudge. From what I feel right now, I do have a feeling that good results will come.”
Trump and Kim were also given multiple opportunities to display their close personal relationship. Whether that is a positive attribute for an American President is up to individual interpretation.