al security team — including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton — that he sh
ould walk away from the talks if they proved unfruitful, according to an official familiar with the summit.
He was cautioned in the days and even hours leading up to the tal
ks that North Korean negotiators were unprepared to budge on their demands on
sanctions during pre-summit talks led by Stephen Biegun, the administration’s special envoy.
Kim as unbending as advertised
Trump still believed he could make something happen
in Hanoi, the official said, and was disappointed to learn Kim was just as unbending as advertised.
Despite the warnings, Trump still felt there was a chance Kim would
prove reasonable at the negotiating table — perhaps one reason why the White House liste
d a signing ceremony on the public version of President’s schedule the evening before.
One official later described that as a mistake, since it wasn’t at all clear the two sides would agree to anything during the talks.
Pompeo told reporters after the summit that there had been progress at the working lev
el, even though the US walked away from the summit empty-handed. He explained that a “lot of br
ush” has been cleared over the last two to three months. The top US diplomat didn’t offer examples.