If coming back from the Hanoi summit empty-handed wasn’t deflating enough for President Donald Trump, his failure to nail a deal or make real progress on denuclearization is being spun as a victory for North Korea leader Kim Jong-un by the media.
State television in Russia is reporting that Kim “forced the largest imperialist nation to negotiate with him as an equal.”
#Russia's state TV:
Consensus there'll be no denuclearization deals with #NorthKorea, the summit is a colossal achievement for Kim, who "forced the largest imperialist nation to negotiate with him as an equal," while for Trump it's just a distraction from #CohenTestimony, etc. ©️ pic.twitter.com/dGXr6BFVGB
— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) February 27, 2019
Russia’s official position is largely, “We don’t know what happened” — or, as a Kremlin spokesperson said, “We don’t now details of this [U.S.] position. We haven’t heard any stance voiced by North Korea’s representatives, we don’t know how exactly the U.S. representatives outlined it.”
In Iran, which has been dealing with the collapse of its own nuclear deal thanks to Trump’s withdrawal last year, its state news outfit Press TV pointed out that “US ‘deal maker in chief’ walked away from Kim summit.”
In fact, there were a lot of jokes about Trump’s deal-making abilities.
The Evening Standard published a cartoon showing Trump’s book The Art of the Deal thrown in the trash.
— George Osborne (@George_Osborne) February 28, 2019
The Brits gave the collapse of the talks a range of coverage. The Telegraph was the harshest, summing up the situation as “Trump’s wobble on the world stage tops a miserable week for the president.”
For those wondering how this is being spun in North Korea, it seems we have to wait another day:
Here are the covers of two North Korean newspapers today, Rodong Sinmun on left, Minju Choson on right, per the KCTV press review (Yup. That's how propaganda works in North Korea). What will they show tomorrow? pic.twitter.com/5rZTCqLMAG
— Martyn Williams (@martyn_williams) February 28, 2019
Trump’s self-lauded reputation as a deal maker (owing to “The Art of the Deal” — a book he may or may not have written) is also attracting some sick burns on Twitter, from all quarters:
Hanoi: Worst Second Date Ever
— Julian Borger (@julianborger) February 28, 2019
— Benjamin Slyngstad (@SlyngCartoons) February 26, 2019
The South China Morning Post, meanwhile, sees a silver lining for China in the collapsed talks, because, the piece goes, “Trump’s failure” (take note of who the piece blames) will increase Beijing’s influence in both the United States and North Korea. The government’s official statement is a diplomatic “there, there” to President Trump, saying an agreement can’t be reached with a couple of summits.
Throwing some shade at Trump’s claims that he’d solved the problem that had plagued so many administrations before his, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said he had “always hoped that everyone can realise that the nuclear problem on the Korean peninsula has been going on for many years, and that solving this problem is definitely not something that can be achieved overnight.”
He added, “It is not a very easy process, otherwise it would not have dragged on until today.”
South Korea, which has been working hard to lower tensions with its neighbor, taking consistent, systematic steps to establish and repair relations, was by far the most disappointed in hearing that Trump walked away.
While the official line is that President Moon Jae-in is hopeful that future talks will be more fruitful, the media ran pieces with headlines like, “Moratorium put on hope,” and “Is everyone just pretending?”