Tuesday 17 October 2017

Trump's North Korea tweets 'confuse' Asia over US policy

'Mr Trump tweeted he had told Mr Tillerson “he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man”, referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.' Pic: AFP/Getty
'Mr Trump tweeted he had told Mr Tillerson “he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man”, referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.' Pic: AFP/Getty

Youkyung Lee Seoul

US President Donald Trump's latest tweets on North Korea, in which he said his top diplomat is wasting his time trying to start talks, were seen by some in Asia as sowing confusion and by others as hard reality.

A South Korean newspaper condemned Mr Trump's remarks for belittling efforts toward a peaceful resolution of the nuclear issue, while a Chinese international affairs expert saw the tweets as a message to North Korea and China.

In an editorial, South Korea's progressive 'Kyunghyung Shinmun' newspaper said Mr Trump's remarks were problematic primarily because they show inconsistency in policy. "To negotiate with North Korea, consistency is the most critical element," it said.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Saturday the Trump administration is probing North Korea's willingness to talk. But, on Sunday, Mr Trump tweeted he had told Mr Tillerson "he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man", referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

A small progressive online newspaper, 'Voice of People', said that Mr Trump's comments are signs of confusion in US policy. "Such unstable US policy toward North Korea is entirely a burden on us," it said.

But Cheng Xiaohe, an associate professor at Renmin University's School of International Studies in China, said: "In my view, Trump hopes both North Korea and China hear what he said on Twitter. His Twitter comments put greater pressure on North Korea, which is at a critical road crossing now, so it must make a choice. In the meantime, the US hopes China will continue to put pressure on North Korea."

Irish Independent

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