Vastavam web: North Korea poses a worldwide threat that needs worldwide action, President Donald Trump said in Seoul today, but insisted “we are making a lot of progress” in reining in the rogue state.The US leader, standing alongside his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-In, reiterated he was prepared to use the full range of American military might to halt Pyongyang’s march towards becoming a full-fledged nuclear power.Only a day earlier, Trump had declared in Tokyo on the first leg of his Asia tour that the time was over for “strategic patience” with Pyongyang, which in September carried out its most powerful nuclear test to date.
Trump has traded personal insults and threats of war with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, raising fears of possible US military action and rapid escalation.Chinese President Xi Jinping — whom he has often described as holding the key to disarming the North — has been “very, very helpful”, he said, expressing hopes Russia would be similarly co-operative.
Trump goes on China tomorrow after addressing the South Korean parliament.”We are going to have an exciting day tomorrow for many reasons that people will find out,” he said at a state dinner tonight, without elaborating.Trump arrived from Japan, where he secured Tokyo’s full support for Washington’s stance that “all options are on the table” regarding Pyongyang, and declared its nuclear ambitions “a threat to the civilised world and international peace and stability”.”The partnership between our two nations and our two people is deep and enduring,” Trump added at the dinner.
And Moon whose parents were evacuated from the North on a US ship during the Korean War was full of praise for the United States at Camp Humphreys, where US forces stationed in the country 28,500 in total have moved their headquarters from downtown Seoul.”They say one knows a true friend when one is in need,” he told Trump. “The United States is a true friend who has been with us and has bled with us in our time of need.”Kim Hyun-Wook, a professor at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy, told AFP the two allies have “subtle differences in their positions” and underlying suspicions about each other.
Citizens’ views are mixed, with both pro- and anti-Trump demonstrations in downtown Seoul since the weekend. A heavy police presence lined the route of his motorcade Tuesday.North Korea itself welcomed Trump to the region with a rhetorical volley via the ruling party newspaper Rodong Sinmun, calling the US a “thrice-cursed nuclear criminal” and condemning “Trump’s mad remarks”.Commerce was also on Trump’s agenda in Seoul, and he demanded a “free, fair, and reciprocal” trade deal with his security ally, calling their existing agreement “quite unsuccessful and not very good for the United States”.Some observers have fretted that a gaffe by a president given to off-the-cuff remarks could send tensions rising on the peninsula.