View from South Korea: No 'fire and fury' as Trump strikes optimistic tone


US President Donald Trump addresses the National Assembly in Seoul on Nov 8.
US President Donald Trump addresses the National Assembly in Seoul on Nov 8.PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL (THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK)- Prior to US President Donald Trump's first state visit to South Korea starting Tuesday (Nov 7), there were heightened concerns here that he might make harsh comments against North Korea - right at the doorstep of the rogue regime - and escalate military tensions on the Korean peninsula.

But there was no threats of "totally destroying" North Korea with "fire and fury" during his first day in South Korea - nor did the president use a derogatory nickname "Little Rocket Man", which he had used in the past, to mock North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

In fact, he made no reference to the North Korean leader throughout his joint press conference on Tuesday with President Moon Jae In in Seoul.

In a notable shift in tone, Trump painted an optimistic view of resolving North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes, suggesting he has seen a "a lot of progress" on the standoff and it would be "worked out ultimately".

"I do see certain movement ... and let's see what happens," Trump said during the news conference.

"I believe it makes sense for North Korea to do the right thing not only for North Korea, but for humanity all around the world."

"Imagine the amazing possibilities of the Korean Peninsula liberated from the threat of nuclear war - where all Koreans could enjoy the blessing of liberty and prosperity you have achieved right here in South Korea," he added.

Trump even signalled his willingness to negotiate with North Korea over its nuclear programme, urging Pyongyang to "come to the table" to "make a deal" and highlighting the move would benefit both North Korea and the world.

When asked about whether he would pursue direct talk with North Korea, Trump, however, declined to comment.

Before making his trip to South Korea, he told Full Measure TV show he is open to sitting down one-on-one with any dictators, including Kim Jong Un.

Regarding the possible use of military force against North Korea, Trump said "we hope to God we never have to use" them, while reiterating that US is prepared to use the military force if necessary and aircraft carriers a nuclear submarine are heading towards the region.

"We have sent three of the largest aircraft carriers in the world and a nuclear submarine also positioned. We have many things happening that we hope, in fact, I'll go further, we hope to God, we never have to use."

He demonstrated an optimistic tone before holding a summit with Moon.

During his visit to Camp Humphreys, the main US Army garrison in South Korea, Trump told reporters that the current standoff with North Korea "will all work out and has to work out".

 

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