This time, he went for more. Trump said Kim wanted the U.S. to lift all of its punishing economic sanctions against Pyongyang immediately. In exchange, North Korea would disable its Yongbyon reactor facility that had produced the fissile material for its nuclear bombs.

Trump, by his own account, was impressed that Kim was willing to lose a “very big” facility. But he said he pressed Kim on other nuclear sites uncovered by American intelligence. Moreover, the U.S. side — mindful of North Korea’s track record of broken promises — sought a different sequence of events: disarmament, then sanctions relief.

The North Koreans were unwilling to concede to the full inspections regime the U.S. proposed. As the sides went back and forth, reporters were brought into a cafe at the hotel where Trump and Kim were expected to share lunch. A long table with white linens and roses had been set, while a menu of snow fish, apple foie gras jelly, and banoffee pie was being prepared.