Trump trying to be 'peacemaker' with North Korea but getting 'vilified': Bannon

Minnie Murray
June 17, 2018

US President Donald Trump returned from his short summit meeting in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jung-un in an exultant mood.

Earlier this week, Trump was asked by Fox News' Bret Baier about the "killer" despot and how he can continue to say nice things about him despite all the bad things he has done. He added: "If you're fair, when I came in, people thought we were probably going to war with North Korea".

Immediately after the announcement on June 12, USA forces in Korea said they had received no guidance on stopping any drills, and South Korean officials said they were trying to figure out which exercises Trump was referring to.

Tony Schwartz, who served as the ghostwriter for Trump's best-selling book Art of the Deal, said in an interview on MSNBC that Trump would "murder as many enemies as North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un" if he were able to seize that level of power. Slightly more than 2 in 3 Republicans (68 percent) now say it is likely that North Korea will dismantle its nuclear program completely, an increase of 29 percentage points since April.

"I find that question insulting and ridiculous and, frankly, ludicrous, " Pompeo said in Seoul, where he was seeking to reassure USA ally South Korea about Trump's negotiation, including a surprise halt to joint military exercises involving the US and South Korea.

This is certainly not the pledge for the unilateral dismantling of North Korea's nuclear programme that the United States has always pushed for.

President Donald Trump appears to belong to what might be called the Benjamin Disraeli school of diplomacy.

When Trump said the last line, he pointed towards the White House, which could suggest that he was referring to his staff. Trump later told CNN he was "kidding". He subsequently told reporters, "I have solved that problem". While there is some truth in both camps, most pundits will prove to have been wrong simply because the Kim-Trump bromance is neither conventional nor predictable. The American president tweeted upon returning to the United States that the world could now rest easy as "there is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea". "We will be stopping the war games, which will save us a tremendous amount of money", he said.

Up to that point, the North "really did not prioritise the ending of exercises by the US and South Korea", said Bonnie Glaser, senior Asia advisor at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"Kim is clever. He is using this moment to sanitize his global image", she said.

An Obama-era agreement with China aimed at curbing economic cyberespionage was reaffirmed by the Trump Administration a year ago. In the film, which includes a montage of scenes featuring the two leaders, Trump said his trip was "worth every second", adding, "If there's a chance at peace, if there's a chance to end the disgusting threat of nuclear conflict, then we must pursue it at all costs".

"I went there and gave him credibility - I think it's great to give him credibility".

"The public still has a lot of questions about the North Korea situation that were not answered by this meeting", Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said in a statement.

But the widely anticipated Trump-Kim meeting on Tuesday left them with new anxieties.

OK, even Trump admitted, it would not be an easy task to rid the North Koreans of their nuclear weapons.

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