Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The three words to watch at President Trump's pair of summits over the next month: verifiable, measurable and enforceable.

Driving the news: Trump is on his way to Vietnam, where he'll meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. He'll then host Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago sometime in March. On Monday, he teased a "signing summit" with Xi, saying negotiators are "getting very, very close."

The big picture: It’s hard to find anyone in government who believes North Korea or China are willing to make the dramatic shifts Trump believes he can bring about — complete denuclearization for North Korea and immense structural changes for China.

China’s leaders are masters at playing the Americans. They’ve done so over multiple administrations — and they don’t even acknowledge that they steal U.S. intellectual property on a vast, state-sponsored scale.

  • Xi remains committed to his "Made in China 2025" advanced manufacturing strategy to give Chinese high-tech companies advantages over American ones and would, if successful, prevent Trump from achieving his trade goals.
  • A source close to the negotiations described the debate with the Chinese over the important "structural" issues as a "death march."

North Korea’s leaders are even craftier than the Chinese negotiators. "No one has played [a hand of] two 2s better than they have," said a former senior U.S. official with extensive experience negotiating with North Korea.

  • The Trump team hopes to get a roadmap to denuclearization from this week's Hanoi summit, but Kim doesn't appear to have even made the basic decision to denuclearize. 

The bottom line: Whatever wins Trump may tout in his post-summit rhetoric, check the fine print.

Go deeper

LeBron James on Trump NBA protest remarks: "We could care less"

The Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James kneels during the national anthem before the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, on Wednesday. Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

LeBron James responded on Wednesday night to President Trump's comments calling NBA players "disgraceful" for kneeling during the national anthem to protest racism and that he won't watch games because of the action.

The big picture: Trump has repeatedly criticized sports players for taking the knee since 2016. But James said during a news conference, "I really don’t think the basketball community are sad about losing his viewership, him viewing the game." November's elections marked "a big moment for us as Americans," he said. "If we continue to talk about, 'We want better, we want change,' we have an opportunity to do that," he added. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has said the league will "respect peaceful protest."

Go deeper: LeBron James forms voting rights group to inspire Black voters

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of midnight ET: 18,752,917 — Total deaths: 706,761— Total recoveries — 11,308,298Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of midnight ET: 4,821,296 — Total deaths: 158,249 — Total recoveries: 1,577,851 — Total tests: 58,920,975Map.
  3. Public health: Florida surpasses 500,000 confirmed casesFauci calls U.S. coronavirus testing delays "totally unacceptable."
  4. Business: America's next housing crisis.
  5. States: Virginia launches contact tracing app using specs from Apple and Google.
  6. Cities: L.A. mayor authorizes utilities shut-off at homes hosting large gatherings
  7. Politics: White House, Democrats remain "trillions of dollars apart" on stimulus talks.

L.A. mayor authorizes utilities shut-off at homes hosting large gatherings

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks during a January event in Los Angeles. Photo: Sarah Morris/Getty Images

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Wednesday he's authorized the city's Department of Water and Power (DWP) to shut down utilities at locations that host large gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic.

Driving the news: Garcetti's announcement follows a fatal shooting at a house party attended by roughly 200 people last Monday, the Los Angeles Times notes.