Trump has been skeptical of the U.S. presence in South Korea and Japan
Op-ed says that Trump policies promote North Korean regional interests
A North Korean state media website on Tuesday published an op-ed praising Donald Trump, who said two weeks ago he would be willing to speak directly to Pyongyang’s young leader, Kim Jong Un.
Writing in DPRK Today, a self-described Chinese North Korean scholar named Han Yong Mook called the presumptive Republican nominee “wise” and a “far-sighted presidential candidate.”
“The president that U.S. 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,” he wrote.
The piece, translated by NK Today, an independent news site focused on North Korea, highlighted Trump’s skepticism of American alliances in East Asia. The billionaire businessman also mused about withdrawing some or all of the more than 75,000 U.S. troops currently stationed in South Korea and Japan.
“Japan is better if it protects itself against this maniac of North Korea,” Trump told CNN’s Anderson Cooper in March. “We are better off, frankly, if South Korea is going to start protecting itself … they have to protect themselves or they have to pay us.”
“Who knew that the slogan ‘Yankee Go Home’ would come true like this?,” the DPRK Today article said. “The day when the ‘Yankee Go Home’ slogan becomes real would be the day of Korean Unification.”
The Heritage Foundation’s Bruce Klingner, a former CIA officer, told CNN that Pyongyang would welcome any move – by any potential leader – to effectively weaken the U.S. relationship with South Korea and Japan.
“North Korea has had a long standing objective to divide the U.S. from its allies, to remove U.S. forces or at least reduce them on the peninsula,” he said. “If they see a future policy-maker as advocating the removal of U.S. forces, that fulfills their objectives, so they would be in favor of anyone who’s willing to do that.”
The North Korean regime does not publicly support reunification of the Korean Peninsula and in the last week forcefully rejected Trump’s initial nod at new engagement, calling it a “kind of propaganda or advertisement.”
“This is useless, just a gesture for the presidential election,” So Se Pyong, North Korea’s ambassador to the U.N., told Reuters last week. “There is no meaning, no sincerity.”
CNN’s Elise Labott, Brian Todd and Dugald McConnell contributed to this report.