Still, the resumption of diplomacy reflects another tactical victory by the Kim Jong Un regime over a divided and inept U.S. administration. Following the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore, U.S. officials pressed North Korea’s regime to show its seriousness about giving up nuclear weapons by providing an inventory of its warheads and production facilities. The regime angrily refused and stiffed Mr. Pompeo, even as it showered Mr. Trump with flowery letters said to be from Mr. Kim. Now it has apparently gotten its way: It is negotiating directly with Mr. Trump, who has professed himself to be entranced by the letters and “in love” with Mr. Kim.
At the last summit, in Singapore, Mr. Trump spontaneously offered a significant concession — the suspension of U.S. military exercises with South Korea — in response to what he said was a request from Mr. Kim, taking South Korea and even U.S. military commanders by surprise. The North Koreans no doubt hope they can manipulate Mr. Trump into new giveaways at a second summit, such as a relaxation of sanctions, a declaration ending the Korean War, or even the withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Korea. They have given no indication they will offer anything substantive in return. At a meeting with the South Korean president last fall, Mr. Kim floated the shutdown of the aging nuclear facility at Yongbyon — a horse that has been peddled in previous negotiations.