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By agreeing to a summit from the start—a propaganda coup for Kim Jong Un—Trump removed the incentive for North Korea to make concessions, all but guaranteeing that nothing of substance would come out of the summit. Knowing that the summit was happening, North Korean negotiators could run out the clock on their U.S. counterparts, giving away nothing. Ever since then, Trump has consistently made clear that he sees his diplomacy with North Korea as a victory, again de-incentivizing any movement on the North Korean’s side. North Korea has repeatedly used Trump’s own rhetoric against U.S. negotiators, portraying U.S. officials as “going against the intention of President Trump to advance DPRK-U.S. relations,” while North Korea claims that it is “unchanged in [its] will to uphold the intentions of the top leaders of the DPRK and the U.S.” After Pompeo’s last trip to Pyongyang in July, North Korean state media blasted what they called the United States’ “unilateral and gangster-like demand for denuclearization.” In August, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho criticized the U.S. for trying to go back on its “leader’s intention.” If North Korea believes that U.S.
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