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Saturday 22 October 2016

North Korean media praises 'wise' Donald Trump

Published 01/06/2016 | 08:01

Donald Trump said recently that he was willing to meet Kim Jong Un (AP)
Donald Trump said recently that he was willing to meet Kim Jong Un (AP)

Donald Trump has been getting good press this week - in North Korea.

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The North's carefully controlled media issued an opinion piece that praised him as "wise" and full of foresight, followed by more glowing words from the official mouthpiece of the ruling Workers' Party.

Both articles said his suggestions that he would be willing to meet leader Kim Jong Un 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 praise by comparing the "wise" Mr Trump with "dull" Hillary - describing the leading Democratic presidential candidate only by her first name.

In the lengthy column, the presumptive US Republican presidential nominee 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 does not bear the costs.

It also noted his public willingness to talk directly with the North Korean leadership if he becomes president.

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

Mr 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 50,000 in Japan.

In a more recent interview with the Reuters news agency, Mr Trump said he was willing to meet 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 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 towards a peace treaty to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War, which 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 Mr 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."

The Korean War that solidified the division of North and South 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 Mr Trump is causing anxiety in South Korea because of his comments about 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 did not comment directly on Mr Trump as a candidate.

Press Association

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