President Says he Would be ‘Honored’
In a rather surprise turn in attitude, President Donald Trump told Bloomberg News he will meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, “under the right circumstances.” He went on to say, “I would be honored to do it.” The president has been more sympathetic toward the young leader and his assumption of power in 2012 after the death of his father Kim Jong ll. President Trump said, “He’s 27 years old. His father dies, took over a regime. So say what you want but that is not easy, especially at that age.” He went on to say, “I’m not giving him credit or not giving him credit, I’m just saying that’s a very hard thing to do. As to whether or not he’s rational, I have no opinion on it. I hope he’s rational.”
Major Changes in Trump’s Strategy from Last Week
Last week Trump said he expected a “major, major conflict with North Korea.” At this time, David Graham wrote of US policy toward the North, “The many shifts are jarring – it is hard to discern what the U.S. actually thinks and intends to do in North Korea, when the nation’s top diplomat keeps contradicting himself, the president has his own line, and even matters as simple as naval deployments can’t be taken at face value. One consistent threat has been the U.S. insistence that all options are on the table, but even that is not entirely true, since the U.S. says that regime change is not a possibility.”
In his remarks to Bloomberg it seems the president has stuck to that position saying he was open to talks, but leaving his remarks vague enough to suggest that the circumstances must be right.
Today, after saying it would be an honor to meet with the North Korean leader, this follows yesterdays’ invitation to the White House offered to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. During a phone call the president invited the leader to visit the capital despite concerns about the leader’s violent war on drugs. This signals a major shift in attitude from the US toward a leader known best for inciting an extrajudicial war on drugs in his country that’s killed more than 7,500 people. Duterte publicly attacked former president Barack Obama numerous times last year. He once called Obama the “son of a whore.” In October he said Obama could “go to hell.” He also threatened to “break up” with the US. Duterte has also been accused of encouraging civilians to kill people attempting to buy or sell drugs.