Trump upended three decades of U.S. strategy with North Korea, but the gamble has failed to pay off

President Trump’s decision to engage directly with Kim Jong Un was premised on the bet that three decades of U.S. policy failures to contain North Korea’s nuclear program could be reversed by skipping over lower-level diplomatic talks and starting at the top of its authoritarian regime.

But 19 months after the two leaders’ first summit, the negotiations have broken down along the same sticking point as past efforts: how much sanctions relief the United States is willing to offer in exchange for how much of its arsenal Pyongyang is willing to dismantle.

Now, pressure is mounting on Trump to acknowledge that his strategy has failed and to change course, amid renewed warnings from Kim this week that the North would soon unveil a “new strategic weapon,” which analysts said could mean a long-range ballistic missile test. Diplomatic engagement has been dormant for months, and the Kim regime, frustrated by the stalemate, has publicly rejected Trump’s suggestion that the two leaders could soon meet for a fourth time.

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