All North Korea stories

Dave Lawler, author of World
Mar 1, 2019 - World

Why Hanoi failed

"So ... how was breakfast?" Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump and Chairman Kim are returning to their respective capitals empty-handed, with conflicting explanations for how talks broke down and where we go from here.

Why it matters: Trump showed both flexibility — he backed off the long-standing U.S. demand that any deal requires complete and verifiable denuclearization — and a willingness to walk away. The summit also laid bare the limits to his charisma-based negotiating style and revealed how far the two sides are from agreeing to anything of substance.

Feb 28, 2019 - World

Trump and Kim's no deal

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The surprise has now worn off on the abrupt end to the U.S.-North Korea summit in Hanoi, with the two sides disputing even the terms of what was being negotiated.

Driving the news: The U.S. side claims North Korea offered to close one nuclear facility in exchange for lifting all economic sanctions.The North Korean side claims it only wanted a partial reprieve from economic sanctions.

Feb 28, 2019 - World
Expert Voices

Why walking away from Kim's deal may have been the right move

President Trump at a news conference following his second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Photo: Tuan Mark via Getty Images

President Trump caught the world by surprise once again yesterday with a decision not to sign a deal with his North Korean counterpart, Chairman Kim Jong-un, in Hanoi, Vietnam.

The big picture: While walking away is a common tactic in working-level negotiation, what happened in Hanoi was a rare case and the least expected outcome. Nonetheless, it might have been a much-needed reality check, not a failure, for both sides in the still-early stages of a long process of negotiation.

Feb 28, 2019 - World

North Koreans contradict Trump on request for sanctions relief

Photo: Vietnam News Agency/Handout/Getty Images

North Korean officials said Thursday they only asked for 5 of 11 U.S. sanctions to be lifted in exchange for partial denuclearization, the Washington Post reports.

The big picture: This contradicts Trump's statements that he declined a deal with the North Koreans based on their demand that the U.S. remove all sanctions. Though the highly anticipated summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ended with a breakdown in talks, Trump stressed that the two leaders left on good terms and that there is no rush to an agreement. "Sometimes you have to walk,” Trump said, adding that Kim had a vision of denuclearization that's "not exactly our vision, but it's a lot closer than it was a year ago."

Go deeper: Trump says he takes Kim Jong-un at his word on Otto Warmbier's death

Feb 28, 2019 - World
Expert Voices

Hanoi summit reflects shortcomings of Trump's personalized diplomacy

President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during their second summit meeting, on Feb. 28, 2019, in Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo: Vietnam News Agency/Handout via Getty Images

The meeting in Hanoi between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ended abruptly on Thursday without any breakthrough on denuclearization, the issue of utmost concern to the U.S. and its regional allies.

The big picture: For Trump, the error of relying on the power of his personal charm and negotiating skills over the counsel of intelligence and diplomatic experts was laid bare. Ultimately, effusive praise and promises of a brighter future could not shake Kim’s strategic conviction that nuclear weapons are key to his regime's survival.

Updated Feb 28, 2019 - World

Trump-Kim summit ends without agreement

Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump said early Thursday he failed to reach a deal with North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un because of a disagreement over sanctions, as talks abruptly wrapped up on the second day of their summit in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Why it matters: Trump said Kim pledged to dismantle the Yongbyon nuclear facility — not its entire nuclear program — if all sanctions imposed on the country were lifted first. "Sometimes you have to walk,” he said. Kim had a vision of denuclearization, that's "not exactly our vision, but it's a lot closer than it was a year ago."

Feb 27, 2019 - World

Trump kicks off second summit with North Korea's Kim Jong-un

President Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi, Vietnam on Wednesday, kicking off the second meeting of the two leaders as Trump told reporters that he hopes their "great relationship" can lead to a "very successful" outcome.

What's next: While there are still concerns among experts that North Korea is not serious about denuclearization, Trump and Kim are set to have a one-on-one meeting this evening, followed by a "social dinner" before the substantive bulk of the summit begins Thursday.

Feb 27, 2019 - World

Confidential U.N. report shows North Korea's ongoing illicit activity

Photo: NHAC NGUYEN/AFP/Getty Images

A private U.N. Security Council draft document obtained by CBS News finds North Korea has furtively sold arms to Syria, dodged sanctions, and there has been a "massive increase" in the country criminally acquiring coal and oil.

Between the lines: Since President Trump's first meeting with North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, in June 2018, the country has continued to violate the arms embargo as the U.S. and U.N. have pressed Pyongyang with sanctions on virtually every sector of its economy, according to the United Nations report. And despite the United States' efforts, "financial sanctions remain some of the most poorly implemented and actively evaded measures of the sanction regime," the report finds.

North Korea has long employed cyberattacks to sabotage enemies and collect intelligence, but the report says Pyongyang is now using more sophisticated techniques to generate revenue for the regime. It also says North Korea bamboozled an unidentified U.S. bank into payment for oil. The 67-page document is expected to be made public in early March.

Jung Pak, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and former senior CIA official, told CBS ahead of Trump and Kim's meeting in Vietnam Wednesday, the biggest danger is "the pageantry of the summit is making it harder to punish North Korea for their bad behavior that is being downplayed amid the hoopla."

Feb 26, 2019 - World
Expert Voices

Success of second Trump-Kim summit will lie in the details

A banner hung opposite the Marriott Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam, where President Trump is expected to stay during his summit with Kim Jong-un, on Feb. 25. Photo: Carl Court via Getty Images

While President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s June 2018 meeting ended with a broad statement — committing to “establish new U.S.-DPRK relations” for “a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula” — they will aim to take more concrete steps forward at their second summit in Hanoi this week.

Between the lines: To keep up the diplomatic momentum, Trump and Kim will need to minimize existing ambiguities and divergences on key issues — including the definition of denuclearization — and produce a comprehensive road map that lays out the specifics of their proclaimed shared vision. Without these agreements, the Hanoi summit could be easily denigrated as “just another show.”

Dave Lawler, author of World
Feb 26, 2019 - World

Low expectations follow Trump and Kim to Vietnam

Trump and Kim impersonators wander Hanoi ahead of the summit. Photo: Linh Pham/Getty Images

Expectations are fairly low heading into this week's Hanoi summit, including among Trump's team.

Between the lines: Suzanne DiMaggio, a Carnegie fellow who has facilitated dialogue with the North Koreans on behalf of both the Obama and Trump administrations, says she's optimistic that "the administration has adjusted to an approach that's in the realm of possibility."