Republican candidate Donald Trump has received another ringing endorsement ahead of a likely matchup with Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton. The latest support comes from North Korea's state-run media.
Pyongyang's DPRK Today released an editorial on 31 May praising the presumptive Republican nominee as a "wise politician" and "far-sighted presidential candidate". The op-ed, which was attributed to Chinese North Korean scholar Han Yong Mook, is not an official endorsement from the regime, but likely reflects the government's view, experts told NK News.
"There are many positive aspects to Trump's 'inflammatory policies,'" the op-ed claims. The piece praises Trump's proposal to remove US forces from South Korea, which is still at war with the North, and his offer to speak with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
"Trump said 'he will not get involved in the war between the South and the North,' isn't this fortunate from North Koreans' perspective?" the editorial states before praising the idea of withdrawing US military forces from Seoul. "Yes do it, now...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."
According to NK News, the editorial goes as far as urging Seoul to stop paying defence costs in order to get US forces out of the Korean peninsula. At the same time, Yong Mook called on American voters to not vote for Clinton in the general election in November.
"The president that US citizens must vote for is not that dull Hillary – who claimed to adapt the Iranian model to resolve nuclear issues on the Korean Peninsula – but Trump, who spoke of holding direct conversation with North Korea," he wrote.
Trump's comments on North Korea have led to alarm and even panic in Washington and around the world, the Huffington Post noted. The billionaire real estate mogul's comments in March prompted criticisms from both Republicans and Democrats. "The last thing you want to do is empower this guy in North Korea," said former primary rival Senator Lindsey Graham.
According to CNN, any proposal to withdraw US troops from South Korea, as well as Japan, would be readily welcomed by Pyongyang. "North Korea has had a long sanding objective to divide the US from its allies, to remove US forces or at least reduce them on the peninsula," said former CIA officer, Bruce Klingner. "If they see a future policy-maker as advocating the removal of US forces, that fulfills their objectives, so they would be in favour of anyone who's willing to do that."
A North Korean diplomat later said the country was not taking Trump's proposal seriously. "This is useless, just a gesture for the presidential election," So Se Pyong, North Korea's ambassador to the UN told Reuters. "There is no meaning, no sincerity." Trump has yet to address the endorsement from North Korea.