On the eve of President Trump’s visit to Asia, expected to be dominated by the North Korean threat, Pyongyang’s state media have stepped up their insults against a president described as a maniac in need of “medicine for curing his psychical disorder.”
Trump, meanwhile, told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham on Thursday night that he believed the standoff with the Kim Jong-un regime would be solved – “and if we don’t solve it, it’s not going to be very pleasant for them. It’s not going to be very pleasant for anybody.”
A commentary by North Korea’s KCNA news agency slammed Trump for sending carrier task forces into the region and for trying to get “the whole world” to join in pressuring the regime over its nuclear and missile programs.
“[H]e disclosed his true nature as a nuclear war maniac before the world and was diagnosed as ‘incurably mentally deranged,’” it said.
Another regime organ, Minju Joson, likened Trump in a commentary to a “political idiot driven into the tight corner.”
“No matter whatever rubbish Trump may utter, that can never take the army and people of the DPRK by surprise. We know what we should do,” it said, using the acronym for North Korea’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“The Trump and his group had better behave with prudence, judging the DPRK’s tremendous nuclear deterrence of justice that has incredibly been well-prepared,” Minju Joson warned.
Both commentaries referred dismissively to Trump’s upcoming visit to Asia as a “junket.”
The president’s 10-day trip will begin – after a stopover in Hawaii – in Japan and South Korea, two treaty allies most directly threatened by North Korean aggression.
White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster said Thursday the president would urge leaders with whom he meets to do more to confront North Korea, and that Trump “recognizes that we’re running out of time.”
He said Trump would underscore the U.S. determination to defend itself and its allies, and would also appeal to those with the most sway in Pyongyang to convince the regime that its “pursuit of nuclear weapons is a dead end”
Japan is expected to be an easier stop than South Korea.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, fresh from a snap election victory, has closely aligned Japan’s security policies with Washington, especially as they relate to the North Korean threat.
There is also personal chemistry between the two men. Last February, Abe was Trump’s first guest as president at his Mar-a-Lago resort, where the two played golf, with Trump using a golden driver Abe gave him as a gift after his election win. Trump’s itinerary in Japan includes a return round on Sunday.
Weightier agenda items include a bilateral summit, and Trump is also due to meet with Japanese citizens abducted to North Korea during the 1970s and 80s. Five were allowed to return home after 2002, but others remain unaccounted for, and the issue remains a sensitive one
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In South Korea, Trump will hold talks with President Moon Jae-in who, in contrast to Abe, has expressed a desire to engage with the Kim Jong-un regime, questioning the effectiveness of years of pressure and sanctions.
Trump raised eyebrows with a tweet last September chiding Moon: “South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing!”
Trump’s itinerary will include a visit to Camp Humphreys, a U.S. military base south of Seoul and an address at the National Assembly in the capital.
American troops have been stationed in South Korea since the Korea War, which ended in 1953 with an armistice. In the absence of a formal peace agreement, the two Koreas remain officially at war. U.S. forces, currently 28,500-strong, are deployed to help defend the ally against aggression from the North.
The South Korean leg of the trip will probably feature anti-U.S. protests by liberal activists. Seoul police said more than 200 “progressive” groups had lodged some 50 requests to hold street rallies. Two have been approved, but none will be allowed in the vicinity of the presidential office or the U.S. Embassy.
The president will then visit China, where North Korea will again be high on the agenda, given China’s strong economic links with its Stalinist neighbor.
Vietnam, the second-last stop, will include an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Da Nang, where Trump is scheduled to deliver a speech to the 21-member grouping of Pacific Rim economies.
Trump said on Fox News Thursday he may meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the trip, adding that Russia “can help us with North Korea.” Russia is a member of APEC, so any meeting with Putin would likely take place in Da Nang.
After APEC, Trump will pay a state visit to Hanoi. Like recent predecessors, Trump prioritizes good relations with the communist-ruled former foe. Trade and the South China Sea – Vietnam has been one of the most outspoken parties in the territorial feud with China – will likely dominate the discussions there.
Finally, Trump is scheduled to visit the Philippines, another treaty ally but one whose relations with the U.S. have taken strains since the election of President Rodrigo Duterte.
The outspoken and provocative outspoken president has talked down the importance of the longstanding partnership with the U.S., and is famously sensitive to Western criticism of his controversial war on drugs.
Trump is due to take part in a summit with the 10 Association of Southeast Asian (ASEAN) nations, and to hold bilaterals with Duterte and other ASEAN leaders.
Source: CNS News