HANOI, Vietnam — As President Trump settled to the dining area of a French-colonial resort in Hanoi on Thursday the dialogue with Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader with whom he had struck up the oddest of friendships, was turning stressed.
At a dinner at the Metropole Hotel the night before, mere feet from the bomb shelter where guests took refuge during the Vietnam War, Mr. Kim had resisted what Mr. Trump presented as a grand bargain: North Korea would trade all of its nuclear weapons, material and amenities for an end to the American-led sanctions squeezing its economy.
An American official later explained this as”a proposition to go big,” a bet by Mr. Trump his force of character, and perspective of himself as a consummate dealmaker, could triumph where three previous presidents had neglected.
But Mr. Trump’s deal was essentially the exact same deal that the United States has pushed and the North has rejected — to get a quarter-century. Intelligence agencies had warned him, publicly, Mr. Kim would not be eager to give the arsenal up entirely. North Korea itself had stated that it would just proceed.