Despite the fact that one is a country and one is a real estate tycoon, North Korea and Donald Trump share some striking similarities. For one, both are known for being bombastic, and, secondly, both have grown slowly from annoyance to existential threat for their enemies.
Donald’s approach to foreign policy with North Korea is reflective of his ideas for other parts of the world. Trump shows little interest in peace talks with the Hermit Kingdom, nor does he believe that all of the responsibility for dealing with the Communist country falls on the United States.
Instead, Donald has told reporters that North Korea’s closer enemies, Japan and South Korea, need to arm themselves with nuclear weapons in order to combat their neighbor should it become belligerent. Ri Jong Ryul, deputy-director general of the Institute of International Studies in Pyongyang, told CNN that Trump’s comments were completely ridiculous given the U.S.’s demands that North Korea discontinue its nuclear program.
“Donald Trump’s remarks are totally absurd and illogical. The U.S. tells us to give up our nuclear program, is preparing a nuclear attack against us, and on the other hand would tell its allies to have nuclear weapons. Isn’t this (a) double standard?”
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) April 17, 2016
Despite the global backlash against Donald, North Korea says that they are not particularly invested in who will win the upcoming elections. Trump or not, it’s unlikely that the victor will be someone sympathetic with the country’s gripes, Ri said.
“We’re not really interested in the U.S. elections.We don’t care who becomes the next president. Whether Democrats or Republicans take power, it has nothing to do with us. U.S. politicians have always had a hostile policy… Donald’s remarks give us deeper look at America’s hostile policy against my country. Simply put, America’s hostile acts against us are making the situation on the Korean peninsula worse.”
While the probability of North Korea actually launching a successful intercontinental missile is extremely low, Trump is correct in saying that its neighbors have suffered from a few successful hits. While the nation’s previous promise to launch an attack the size of 9/11 was not taken seriously, some within a closer proximity of North Korea have found themselves burned, John Delury, a professor at South Korea’s Yonsei University told BBC.
“If you follow North Korean media you constantly see bellicose language directed against the U.S. and South Korea and occasionally Japan is thrown in there, and it’s hard to know what to take seriously. But then when you look at occasions where something really did happen, such as the artillery attack on a South Korean island in 2010, you see there were very clear warnings.”
— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) April 17, 2016
Despite North Korea’s apathy, its already antagonistic relationship could heat up even more if Donald emerged victorious in November. In March, American citizen Otto Warmbier was arrested for stealing a propaganda banner and sentenced to 15 years in a hard labor camp. His case coincided with the signing of new sanctions against North Korea, but Adam J. Szubin, Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, explained that they were actually related to a longer-term project.
“President Obama’s new Executive Order and the Treasury’s simultaneous designations reflect the United States’ commitment to holding North Korea accountable for its destabilizing actions… These actions implement both the unanimous UNSCR approved earlier this month as well as recent bipartisan sanctions legislation on North Korea. We will work closely with our international partners to continue in a strong and unambiguous way to pressure North Korea to abandon its illicit nuclear and ballistic missile programs.”
It’s unlikely that Otto Warmbier’s demise or Donald Trump’s rhetoric will dissuade adventurous travelers from visiting North Korea. Since March 2009, 12 Americans have been arrested during their trips to the nation. One was detained for leaving a bible behind in a hotel room, reported The Guardian.
[Photo by Song Kyung-Seok-Pool/Getty Images]