He met Friday with President Nguyen Phu Trong, the country's top leader and Communist Party chief, grinning broadly as he was feted by top officials and escorted down a red carpet. As Kim met officials in Hanoi, the United States and North Korea have both been spinning their versions of what happened during one of the most high-profile diplomatic collapses in recent years. But some experts believe that Kim, by standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Trump at a summit that captivated many around the world, will have one sure win: He'll be able to portray himself to his people and supporters as the charismatic head of a nuclear-armed power, not an international pariah that starves its citizens so it can build nukes and missiles.
On Saturday, Kim, his trademark high-and-tight pompadour a bit dishevelled, walked slowly behind a wreath with his name on it and a message that said, "I mourn the heroes and patriotic martyrs," as it was taken to the Monument to War Heroes and Martyrs. He also oversaw the presentation of a large wreath at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, where he bowed and walked inside.
Talks between Kim and Trump broke down on Thursday, the second day of their two-day summit, in a dispute over how much sanctions relief Washington should provide Pyongyang in return for nuclear disarmament steps. Despite a senior North Korean official's suggestion, in a rushed, middle-of-the-night news conference called to dispute Trump's version of the summit's end, that Kim may have "lost the will" for diplomacy, the North Korean leader seems to have emerged from the diplomatic wreckage as a winner.
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Kim answered questions with humour and ease when confronted by an aggressive international media contingent here. And, crucially for his image at home, he stood firm on his demands for the relief of sanctions imposed over a nuclear programme North Korea says it built in the face of unrelenting US hostility meant to end its leadership. Kim, as he considers his next move after Hanoi, will be backed by state-controlled media that were already busy portraying the summit as a victory for their leader, saying Kim and Trump "appreciated that the second meeting in Hanoi offered an important occasion for deepening mutual respect and trust and putting the relations between the two countries on a new stage".
North Korea said it had asked for partial sanctions relief in return for closing its main nuclear site at Yongbyon, an important nuclear-fuel production facility but not the only place North Korea is believed to make bomb fuel. The US also has been spinning the summit breakdown, with senior officials saying that North Korea wanted billions of dollars in sanctions relief in return for only partial dismantlement of Yongbyon, and demanded North Korea scrap more of its nuclear programme for such a high level of concessions. It's unclear what will come next: Working-level meetings among experts to close the negotiating gap?
Another summit? Or will Trump, consumed with controversy in Washington and burned by the failure in Hanoi, lose interest? Anyone could join this front as long as they opposed Ngo Dinh Diem and wanted to unify Vietnam. The character of the NLF and its relationship to the Communists in Hanoi has caused considerable debate among scholars, anti-war activists, and policymakers. In a series of government "White Papers," Washington insiders denounced the NLF, claiming that it was merely a puppet of Hanoi and that its non-Communist elements were Communist dupes.
The NLF, on the other hand, argued that it was autonomous and independent of the Communists in Hanoi and that it was made up mostly of non-Communists. Many anti-war activists supported the NLF's claims. Washington continued to discredit the NLF, however, calling it the "Viet Cong," a derogatory and slang term meaning Vietnamese Communist. December White Paper In , President Kennedy sent a team to Vietnam to report on conditions in the South and to assess future American aid requirements. The report, now known as the "December White Paper," argued for an increase in military, technical, and economic aid, and the introduction of large-scale American "advisers" to help stabilize the Diem regime and crush the NLF.
As Kennedy weighed the merits of these recommendations, some of his other advisers urged the president to withdraw from Vietnam altogether, claiming that it was a "dead-end alley.
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Instead of a large-scale military buildup as the White Paper had called for or a negotiated settlement that some of his advisers had long advocated, Kennedy sought a limited accord with Diem. The United States would increase the level of its military involvement in South Vietnam through more machinery and advisers, but would not intervene whole-scale with troops. This arrangement was doomed from the start, and soon reports from Vietnam came in to Washington attesting to further NLF victories.
To counteract the NLF's success in the countryside, Washington and Saigon launched an ambitious and deadly military effort in the rural areas. Called the Strategic Hamlet Program, the new counterinsurgency plan rounded up villagers and placed them in "safe hamlets" constructed by the GVN. The idea was to isolate the NLF from villagers, its base of support. This culturally-insensitive plan produced limited results and further alienated the peasants from the Saigon regime.
The Saigon regime's reactive policies ironically produced more cadres for the NLF.
Marines holding up a captured National Liberation Front flag. Diem's brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu, had raided the Buddhist pagodas of South Vietnam, claiming that they had harbored the Communists that were creating the political instability.
1975 CBS News footage shows dramatic evacuation of Saigon
The result was massive protests on the streets of Saigon that led Buddhist monks to self-immolation. The pictures of the monks engulfed in flames made world headlines and caused considerable consternation in Washington. By late September, the Buddhist protest had created such dislocation in the south that the Kennedy administration supported a coup. With Washington's tacit approval, on November 1, , Diem and his brother were captured and later killed. Three weeks later, President Kennedy was assassinated on the streets of Dallas.
At the time of the Kennedy and Diem assassinations, there were 16, military advisers in Vietnam. The Kennedy administration had managed to run the war from Washington without the large-scale introduction of American combat troops. The continuing political problems in Saigon, however, convinced the new president, Lyndon Baines Johnson, that more aggressive action was needed.
Perhaps Johnson was more prone to military intervention or maybe events in Vietnam had forced the president's hand to more direct action.
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In any event, after a dubious DRV raid on two U. Buddhist monks, Photo courtesy of E. Kenneth Hoffman. Turner Joy and the U. Maddox, two American ships on call in the Gulf of Tonkin. The first of these attacks occurred on August 2, McNamara have recently concluded that no second attack ever took place. In any event, the Johnson administration used the August 4 attack as political cover for a Congressional resolution that gave the president broad war powers. The Resolution was followed by limited reprisal air attacks against the DRV. Throughout the fall and into the winter of , the Johnson administration debated the correct strategy in Vietnam.
The civilians in the Pentagon wanted to apply gradual pressure to the Communist Party with limited and selective bombings. Only Undersecretary of State George Ball dissented, claiming that Johnson's Vietnam policy was too provocative for its limited expected results. In early , the NLF attacked two U. From through late , the Party believed it could win a military victory in the south "in a relatively short period of time.
World Report Vietnam | Human Rights Watch
The idea was to get the United States bogged down in a war that it could not win militarily and create unfavorable conditions for political victory. The Communist Party believed that it would prevail in a protracted war because the United States had no clearly defined objectives, and therefore, the country would eventually tire of the war and demand a negotiated settlement. While some naive and simple-minded critics have claimed that the Communist Party, and Vietnamese in general, did not have the same regard for life and therefore were willing to sustain more losses in a protracted war, the Party understood that it had an ideological commitment to victory from large segments of the Vietnamese population.
Battleship firing its main guns. The War in America One of the greatest ironies in a war rich in ironies was that Washington had also moved toward a limited war in Vietnam. The Johnson administration wanted to fight this war in "cold blood. A limited war called for limited mobilization of resources, material and human, and caused little disruption in everyday life in America.
Never found the right model
Of course, these goals were never met. The Vietnam War did have a major impact on everyday life in America, and the Johnson administration was forced to consider domestic consequences of its decisions every day. Eventually, there simply were not enough volunteers to continue to fight a protracted war and the government instituted a draft.
As the deaths mounted and Americans continued to leave for Southeast Asia, the Johnson administration was met with the full weight of American anti-war sentiments. Protests erupted on college campuses and in major cities at first, but by every corner of the country seemed to have felt the war's impact. Perhaps one of the most famous incidents in the anti-war movement was the police riot in Chicago during the Democratic National Convention.
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Hundreds of thousands ofcpeople came to Chicago in August to protest American intervention in Vietnam and the leaders of the Democratic Party who continued to prosecute the war. The Tet Offensive By , things had gone from bad to worse for the Johnson administration. These attacks, known in the West as the Tet Offensive, were designed to force the Johnson administration to the bargaining table. The Communist Party correctly believed that the American people were growing war-weary and that its continued successes in the countryside had tipped the balance of forces in its favor.