The Trump-Kim Summit Was Unprecedented, but the Statement Was Vague

The Trump-Kim Summit Was Unprecedented, but the Statement Was Vague

The president has pivoted almost entirely from sticks to carrots on North Korea. Before his news conference, White House aides showed a short film, which Mr. Trump had commissioned and screened for Mr. Kim on an iPad during their meeting. With a thumping soundtrack and images of the two leaders as benevolent peacemakers, the video offered an inspirational view of a thriving North Korea, if only it would forsake its nuclear weapons.

“I think he loved it,” Mr. Trump said.

North Korea, he said, might choose not to invest in high-speed trains and other technological marvels displayed in the film. But at the least, it should exploit its strategic location and idyllic beaches, which Mr. Trump said could be lined with hotels and condos instead of artillery batteries.

“Think of it from the real estate perspective,” the property developer-turned-president said. “South Korea and China — and they own the land in the middle.”

Loose and ebullient, Mr. Trump took questions for 75 minutes, as his aides fidgeted in their chairs. It seemed a fitting end to a summit meeting that, from the start, resembled a reality TV show more than a serious diplomatic exercise. Mr. Kim was overheard remarking to Mr. Trump that people would think they were watching a science fiction movie.

Or, more precisely, a buddy movie: After a formal introduction, the two quickly seemed at ease with each other. Mr. Trump put a hand on Mr. Kim’s back as they walked on a balcony of the hotel where the meeting was held. Mr. Kim spun a pair of reading glasses in his hand and smiled occasionally as he listened to the president.

Later, Mr. Trump heaped praise on Mr. Kim, saying he was talented, loved his country and knew more about its nuclear program than the people who actually ran it.

Mr. Trump said he raised North Korea’s human-rights abuses with Mr. Kim, though it was hardly a priority. “It is a rough situation over there,” he acknowledged, but then added, “It’s rough in a lot of places.”

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