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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 3, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 23
Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump: new BFFs?
Section One
ALL STORIES
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Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump: new BFFs?

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

A North Korean government publication has praised Donald Trump as a 'wise politician' and 'far-sighted candidate' whose policies could help unify Korea under North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The editorial in DPRK Today referred to a speech Trump gave in March, in which the Republican candidate said he would be willing to hold direct one-on-one talks with Kim, and would cut off military support to South Korea unless its government agreed to spend more money on its own defense.

'There are many positive aspects to Trump's 'inflammatory policies,' the editorial, signed by professor Han Yong-mook, said.

'Trump said he will not get involved in the war between the South and the North; isn't this fortunate from North Korea's perspective?'

Han specifically urged American voters not to choose Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton.

'The president that US citizens must vote for is not that dull Hillary - who claimed to adapt the Iranian model to resolve nuclear issues on the Korean Peninsula - but Trump, who spoke of holding direct conversation with North Korea,' it said.

Analysts said that although the editorial was not officially from the North Korean government in Pyongyang, it reflected thinking inside the regime.

'This is very striking,' said Aidan Foster-Carter of the University of Leeds. 'Admittedly it is not exactly Pyongyang speaking, or at least not the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] government in an official capacity. But it is certainly Pyongyang flying a kite, or testing the waters.

'For the rest of us, this is a timely reminder - if it were needed - of just how completely Trump plans to tear up established US policy in the region.'

John Feffer, director of Foreign Policy In Focus, said the editorial indicated Pyongyang's wish to break through Washington's strategic patience policy. He also compared Trump to Kim's other American friend, Dennis Rodman.

'[Trump]'s the Dennis Rodman of American politics - quirky, flamboyant, risk-taking. At the moment he's also an outsider,' Feffer said.

'But Pyongyang is hoping that either he'll be elected [and follow through on his pledges] or that his pronouncements will change the political game in the US and influence how the Democratic Party and mainstream Republicans view Korean issues.'

In his March speech, Trump tried for the first time in his campaign to lay out a coherent foreign policy agenda, with one of the key points being that he expected US allies to take up more of the financial burden of defending themselves.

Failing that, Trump suggested, his administration might withdraw altogether from places like South Korea.

'Yes, do it, now,' the North Korean editorial said. 'Who knew that the slogan 'Yankee Go Home' would come true like this? The day when the 'Yankee Go Home' slogan becomes real would be the day of Korean unification.'

Also in March, the North Korean government published a statement informing South Korea that it was open to resuming negotiations between the two states. South Korea rejected the proposal, but Kim's government reiterated its desire for inter-Korea dialog.

If a future Trump administration pulled out of the peninsula, South Korea would have very few options other than negotiating directly with the North.

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