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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

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day — U.S. tops 88,000 COVID-19 cases, setting new single-day record.
  2. Politics: States beg for Warp Speed billions.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases.
  4. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.

Technical glitch in Facebook's ad tools creates political firestorm

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: SOPA Images / Contributor

Facebook said late Thursday that a mix of "technical problems" and confusion among advertisers around its new political ad ban rules caused issues affecting ad campaigns of both parties.

Why it matters: A report out Thursday morning suggested the ad tools were causing campaign ads, even those that adhered to Facebook's new rules, to be paused. Very quickly, political campaigners began asserting the tech giant was enforcing policies in a way that was biased against their campaigns.

4 hours ago - Health

States beg for Warp Speed billions

A COVID-19 drive-thru testing center yesterday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Photo: David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP

Operation Warp Speed has an Achilles' heel: States need billions to distribute vaccines — and many say they don't have the cash.

Why it matters: The first emergency use authorization could come as soon as next month, but vaccines require funding for workers, shipping and handling, and for reserving spaces for vaccination sites.

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