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Forget It, Trump. North Korea Is Not Giving Up Its Nukes.

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26.02.2019

HANOI—If President Donald Trump thinks his second encounter with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un is going to be “very tremendous,” as he put it in a typical burst of self-praise, he had better think again.

Deep in the Kim Dynasty DNA is the belief that the North can use its possession of nuclear weapons and the threat of their use for diplomatic and political purposes on the road to control of the entire peninsula. And before that happens the North would be holding up South Korea for enormous economic aid, beginning with a revamped rail system and reconstruction of dilapidated factories.

So, as Kim and his tough top adviser, Kim Yong Cho—plus his charming kid sister, Kim Yo Jong—arrived here after riding through China in an armored train, and a final 108-mile motorcade ride from the border, there was no sign the North Koreans had any notion of real concessions when Kim and Trump meet Wednesday and Thursday.

While Trump was flying here from Washington, envoy Stephen Biegun was still sorting out whatever his boss and Kim might agree on. No one was betting on Biegun—and then Trump—coming up with much beyond face-saving minor points of agreement that won’t guarantee North Korea is getting rid of its nukes and the missiles to carry them to distant targets, including the continental United States.

The most enduring lesson from the first Trump-Kim summit in Singapore is clear: beware of any deal with the North Koreans.

One example: Kim’s agreement in Singapore to return the bones of U.S. troops long missing on North Korean battlegrounds. After much delay, the North last July finally transferred some 50 “sets” of remains — just a fraction of hundreds they’re holding in reserve as needed for future signs of supposed rapprochement.

What Trump took away from Singapore were mainly bragging rights as a self-proclaimed peacemaker, while Kim—the murderous dictator of one of the world’s most repressive and isolated regimes—burnished a new image as a respectable leader shaking hands with the president of the United States.

Here in Hanoi, Kim spent the day prior to the summit resting up from traveling 70 hours to get here and then touring the city in an armored limousine on his way to the North Korean embassy surrounded by a retinue of dark-suited bodyguards. Authorities meanwhile were taking no chances on any incident ruining the mood.

The rail station at the Vietnamese border town of Dong Dang where Kim’s armored train arrived Tuesday morning was under heavy guard as he was greeted by rows of soldiers and dignitaries. The highway from the border was closed to all traffic, and shops and clubs near the Melia Hotel where Kim is staying were under a tight curfew.

This time around, no one other than Trump is predicting the summit will end in a blaze of success—or that Kim will ever do away with a nuclear program seen as his ultimate defense and deterrent against enemies near and far.

North Korea’s emergence as a nuclear........

© The Daily Beast