The summit meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un in Singapore Tuesday morning was an excellent example of this shortcoming.
Trump said Kim accepted his invitation to visit the White House at the "appropriate" time.
Meeting with staged ceremony on a Singapore island, Trump and Kim came together for a summit that seemed unthinkable months ago, clasping hands in front of a row of alternating United States and North Korean flags, holding a one-on-one meeting, additional talks with advisers and a working lunch.
Their meeting, with only translators present, lasted 38 minutes.
For all the upbeat talk, it was an open question what, if any, concrete results the sit-down would produce. Tuesday local time, was a sharp reversal from the rhetoric between Trump and Kim for much of a year ago and into early 2018, as each mercurial figure engaged in name calling and provocative rhetoric.
Asked by a reporter how the meeting was going, Trump said: "Very good".
"The old prejudices and practices worked as obstacles on our way forward, but we've overcome all of them and we are here today", Kim said.
"They will be doing things" to improve the country's human rights situation, he said.
Karen Leong, Managing Director of Singapore-headquartered Influence Solutions, said Trump did not display any of the hostility seen at the G7 summit in Canada last week, during which the U.S. leader blasted allies including the European Union and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over trade.
"During a post-lunch stroll through the gardens of the Singapore hotel where the summit was held, Trump said the summit had gone "better than anybody could have expected".
Against a backdrop of United States and North Korean flags, the two first shook hands for about 12 seconds, and Trump at one point grabbed Kim's arm as they posed for pictures.
Pompeo had signaled on June 11 that the Trump administration did not expect an immediate breakthrough at the Trump-Kim meeting, but rather hoped it would create an opening for more extended negotiations. So we look nice and handsome and thin? They then resumed their walk.
Trump Kim Summit
At 8.07am, he saw Mr Trump's convoy including the president's iconic state limousine, The Beast, and its decoy.
The optimistic summit was a remarkable change in dynamics from less than a year ago, when Trump was threatening "fire and fury" against Kim, who in turn scorned the American president as a "mentally deranged United States dotard".Beyond the impact on both leaders' political fortunes, the summit could shape the fate of countless people _ the citizens of impoverished North Korea, the tens of millions living in the shadow of the North's nuclear threat, and millions more worldwide. During his stroll, crowds yelled out Kim's name and jostled to take pictures, and the North Korean leader posed for a selfie with Singapore officials.
"It will be achieved by having a lot of people there", he said. But he added "our hostages" are back home and testing, research and launches have stopped.
Trump was joined in the talks by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who played a crucial role setting up the summit, National Security Adviser John Bolton and Chief of Staff John Kelly. We will all know soon whether or not a real deal, unlike those of the past, can happen!"Trump tweeted earlier in the day". Trump left that summit early and, as he flew to Singapore, tweeted that he was yanking the U.S. out of the group's traditional closing statement.
Trump will use what he says are legendary instincts to see whether Kim if bluffing, buying time or is serious. The president planned to stop in Guam and Hawaii on the way back to Washington.
Not to be outdone, Kim firmly pumped Trump's hand, looking him straight in the eye for the duration, before breaking off to face the media. He rattled off a prepared list of concessions he had secured from North Korea before and during the summit.
He would not say whether that included the possibility of withdrawing US troops from the Korean Peninsula, but said the context of the discussions was "radically different than ever before".
"Donald Trump was talking in conciliatory terms, nearly submissive, but his body language was clearly saying "I am in charge here", Pease said.
The North has faced crippling diplomatic and economic sanctions as it has advanced development of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
Trump said he expected the denuclearization process to start "very, very quickly".
"Will you give up your nuclear weapons", this reporter followed.
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