Polite diplomacy over the dinner table. Smiles on both sides. A nice private dinner. “Everybody is having a good time. Hope so”, says Trump.
Trump and Kim met before the formal dinner party for about half an hour. Kim smiled and said:
“We have exchanged in a very interesting dialogue with each other for about 30 minutes”.
Trump responds with a smile “yes it was good”.
“So we’re going to have a very busy day tomorrow, says Trump.
“And a lot of things are going to be solved. I hope. and I Think it will lead to a really wonderful situation long term… And our relationship is a very special relationship”.
Ultimately, however, there was no official statement or joint communique. What happened. What went wrong?
Prior to the Hanoi encounter, Trump intimated that if a moratorium on nuclear missile testing by the DPRK was reached, he would be satisfied. And that this commitment would then lead to subsequent negotiations.
But this stance was not shared by his top advisers:
“Senior Trump aides have privately expressed skepticism … Some fear that Trump could feel pressure to make a major concession to Kim during face-to-face talks, including a one-on-one session, in hopes of securing a reciprocal commitment he can herald as a political victory. (WPo, February 24, 2018, emphasis added)
Who are these “Senior Trump aides”? The WPo fails to mention the central role of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who was put in charge of the negotiations from the very outset in 2017 when he was head of the CIA.
While we are not privy to what was discussed behind closed doors (with the two leaders and their senior advisors), or what was discussed by Pompeo and Kim Yong-chol in meetings prior to the Hanoi venue, there is evidence that Pompeo was instrumental in the sabotage of peace negotiations both in Singapore and Hanoi.
Back in October 2017, a few months following the beginning of negotations with the DPRK, Pompeo while he was head of the CIA, had hinted in a public statement that Kim Jong-un was on the CIA assassination list:
“If Kim Jong-un suddenly dies,