North Korea's media praise Trump talk about US troops

2016-06-01 11:33
Donald Trump. (Steve Pope, AFP)

Donald Trump. (Steve Pope, AFP)

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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 on Wednesday 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 on Tuesday by juxtaposing the "wise" Trump with what it called a "dull" Hillary – describing the leading Democratic Party candidate only by her first name.

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.

Clinton, the column said, is "dull" for promising to pursue an "Iran-type model" to solve nuclear issues with the North.

‘Yankee Go Home’

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.

"There are many 'positive aspects' to take away from Trump's 'inflammatory campaign promises,'" the writer says in the DPRK Today column, pointing out Trump's indications that Seoul should pay "100%" of the cost for the American troops stationed in the South and, if not, Washington should pull them out.

"Yes, go away, now!" it says. "Who knew that the 'Yankee Go Home' slogan we shouted so enthusiastically could come true so easily like this? The day that the 'Yankee Go Home' slogan becomes reality would be the day of unification."

Anxiety in South Korea

The Korean War that solidified the division of North and South Korea ended in an armistice, not a full peace treaty.

The DPRK Today website is considered to be a propaganda outlet aimed at readers outside the North, though its position within the government is not clear.

While not as colourful or overtly supportive as the DPRK Today column, the ruling party's official Rodong Sinmun editorial said the emergence of Trump is causing anxiety in South Korea because of his comments about the potential US troop withdrawal.

It said the South Korean government should stop living as a servant of foreign forces and come back to the side of the Korean nation, but didn't comment directly on Trump as a candidate.

Read more on:    donald trump  |  hillary clinton  |  south korea  |  us  |  north korea  |  us 2016 elections

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