Hanoi was about Trump’s intention of getting re-elected and Kim’s desire to be seen on the world stage
When I first heard that the second United States and North Korea summit was scheduled to take place in Hanoi, I thought Vietnam was the perfect place for it. The country makes for a good example of what the future of North Korea might look like. Vietnam used to be the isolated communist country bordering China, with their guns pointed at the United States and their economy on a constant downturn. Now it has a 6 per cent annual GDP growth rate and retains control over its politics. It is, from all perspectives, a success story.
By now, however, we know that something went wrong with the summit. Both leaders ended the talks early — not even stopping to sample the expensive dinner that was being prepared for them — and Trump almost immediately departed the country. A signing ceremony which had been planned for a historic new agreement was abandoned.
As a South Korean living in America and working in government policy, I felt a moment of realisation when the talks failed: our country should have done more. President Moon Jae-in said in a presidential meeting, “The owner of the fate of the Korean peninsula is us” — and to see the owner out of the picture in such a historical summit left me with deep reservations. Trump thought that he could negotiate the future of the Korean Peninsula without the South Koreans; he imagined we weren’t needed. No doubt he’s learning from that mistake now.