No modern American president wanted to hand North Korea a public-relations coup by rewarding the rogue dictatorship with a bilateral summit. U.S. leaders from both parties realized that Pyongyang would exploit a presidential-level meeting for all its worth.
With this in mind, it probably shouldn't surprise anyone that North Korea's state-run television is airing propaganda, glorifying Kim Jong-un's summit with Donald Trump in Vietnam. The Associated Press reported overnight:
The documentary shows a smiling Kim talking with Trump while walking together inside a Hanoi hotel last week.It shows Kim's black limousine passing through a Hanoi street lined with residents waving flags. The footage also shows Kim visiting the North Korean Embassy where some skipped and wept with emotions before they took a group photo with the backdrop of a huge picture of Kim's late father and grandfather.The documentary cited Kim as saying North Korea and the U.S. must put an end to their decades-long animosity and confrontation. But it didn't mention about the lack of an agreement following the Kim-Trump summit.
This comes on the heels of Donald Trump's announcement that the United State is ending joint military exercises with our South Korean allies -- another concession the American president appears to have made in exchange for nothing.
Complicating matters, NBC News reported this week that North Korea is pursuing the "rapid rebuilding" of a long-range rocket site. The report added, "Sohae Satellite Launching Station, North Korea's only operational space launch facility, has been used in the past for satellite launches. These launches use similar technology to what is used for intercontinental ballistic missiles."
The Trump-Kim talks collapsed last Thursday. The renewed activity at the site began two days later.
So, for those keeping score, Kim Jong-un benefits from some new propaganda and the legitimacy that comes with a summit with an American president; he no longer has to contend with U.S. military exercises his country has long opposed; and there's evidence that North Korea is pursuing the "rapid rebuilding" of a long-range rocket site.
On the other hand, there's Donald Trump, who doesn't appear to have anything to show for his efforts.
The American president was asked yesterday whether North Korea is breaking a promise by rebuilding a key missile launch site. "Well, we're going to see," he replied. "It's too early to see.... I would be very disappointed if that were happening."
It wouldn't be the only disappointment for this White House.