US manoeuvres - Hanoi hopes

Not for the first time, the US government speaks with forked tongue. Mr Trump says North Korea no longer poses a nuclear threat. His secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, disagrees; he says it does.

Is this a secretary of state who has been fooled by fake news, or a president who is so sure of his own infallibility that no inconvenient facts are allowed to dislodge the fairy tales floating around in his head when he, or whoever else it is who can’t spell, starts the day with a presidential tweet?

The fact, nine months after US-North Korea summit in Singapore and on the eve of round two in Hanoi, is that the only progress about which Mr Trump can boast is that Kim Jong Un has suspended his nuclear and missile tests. Better than nothing, of course, but woefully short of the expectations that followed the Singapore meeting. Kim’s pledge to dismantle his nuclear arsenal, the size of which remains unknown, is still just a promise. There has been no agreement on how disarmament would be verified.

Mr Trump is fond of mocking his predecessors, Republicans and Democrats, for their failure in negotiations with North Korea. However, they failed because Kim’s father made pledges he had no intention of keeping. It’s conceivable that Kim has something similar in mind.

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