Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee in the upcoming U.S. presidential election, has faced an unusual amount of criticism from foreign leaders -- in large part because of his combative tone and unorthodox policy suggestions. This week, however, he found an unlikely international voice of support - in North Korean state media.
State outlet DPRK Today published an editorial on Tuesday that called the business mogul a "wise politician" and said he could be good for North Korea. "There are many positive aspects to Trump's 'inflammatory policies,'" the author of the article wrote, according to a translation from NK News. "Trump said he will not get involved in the war between the South and the North, isn't this fortunate from North Korea's perspective?"
The author of the editorial also dismissed Hillary Clinton, Trump's likely Democrat rival in the presidential race, calling her "dull" and warning that she hopes to use the "Iranian model to resolve nuclear issues on the Korean Peninsula."
It's an unusual change in tone for North Korean state media, which has largely avoided talking about the U.S. election directly. The article claims to have been written by a guest contributor -- Han Yong Mook, who is introduced as a Chinese North Korea scholar -- but the fact that it was published by a notoriously patriotic outlet may well suggest that the ideas contained within it are likely to hold serious sway within Pyongyang.
Trump has made several recent comments about U.S. policy toward the Korean Peninsula. In an interview with The Washington Post's editorial board in March, Trump had argued that the U.S. defense deal with South Korea was not fair, adding, "We're reimbursed a fraction of what this is all costing." In a subsequent interview with The New York Times, Trump had suggested he would withdraw U.S. troops from South Korea if elected, noting that Seoul may need to build its own nuclear weapons to protect itself. Trump then told Reuters in May that he would be willing to speak to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. "I would speak to him, I would have no problem speaking to him," Trump said.
Such comments had caused concern in Seoul, with JoongAng Ilbo, one of South Korea's biggest newspapers, dubbing Trump's ideas "myopic." North Korean officials also had appeared to be initially confounded by his comments. During an interview with CNN in April, one Pyongyang-based official said Trump's comments about nuclear proliferation were "totally absurd and illogical." Later, North Korea's ambassador to Britain said his country had no interest in talking with Trump, calling the candidate's overtures "the dramatics of a popular actor."
Han Yong Mook writes, however, that North Korea should welcome Trump's proposals, suggesting that they could help Pyongyang achieve its goal of removing U.S. troops from the Korean Peninsula. "Yes do it, now," the editorial reads. "Who knew that the slogan 'Yankee Go Home' would come true like this? The day when the 'Yankee Go Home' slogan becomes real would be the day of Korean Unification."