Tokyo: Donald Trump appears to be finding some friends in North Korea. The presumptive US Republican presidential nominee has been getting good press this week in the North’s carefully controlled media, first in an opinion piece that praised him as “wise” and full of foresight and then today in the official mouthpiece of the ruling Worker’s Party itself.
Both articles noted how his suggestions he would be willing to meet leader Kim Jong Un and wants to rethink and possibly withdraw US troops from South Korea have created a “Trump Shock” in Seoul.The state-run DPRK Today in Pyongyang started off the Trump praise yesterday by juxtaposing the “wise” Trump with what it called “dull Hillary” – describing leading Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton by only her first name.
“The presidential candidate who US citizens should vote for is not dull Hillary, who says she would pursue an ‘Iran-type model’ to solve the Korean Peninsula’s nuclear problems, but Trump, who said he would solve problems by directly talking with North Korea,” said the column attributed to a “China-based scholar.”
In the lengthy column, Trump is described as a “wise politician and presidential candidate with foresight” for his comments about the US potentially withdrawing its troops from South Korea if Seoul doesn’t bear the costs. It also noted his public willingness to directly talk with the North Korean leadership if he becomes president.
Trump told The New York Times in March that South Korea and Japan should pay much more for the US troops based in their countries – about 28,000 in South Korea and around 50,000 in Japan. In a more recent interview with the Reuters news agency, Trump said he was willing to meet with Kim. “I would speak to him, I would have no problem speaking to him,” he said.
The removal of US troops from the Korean Peninsula and direct talks with a US president dovetail nicely with objectives Pyongyang has held for years – though undoubtedly for different reasons than the American real estate magnate.
The North wants the US troops to leave because it sees them as a direct threat to the regime’s security and has long wanted talks with Washington, ostensibly toward a peace treaty to end the 1950-53 Korean War, that would boost its international status and acknowledge that North Korea is a nuclear state.