WASHINGTON – North and South Koreans have opened up a new dialogue to ease nuclear tensions on the peninsula – and President Trump is taking credit for it.
“With all of the failed ‘experts’ weighing in, does anybody really believe that talks and dialogue would be going on between North and South Korea right now if I wasn’t firm, strong and willing to commit our total ‘might’ against the North,” Trump tweeted. “Fools, but talks are a good thing!”
North Korea announced Wednesday it had re-opened a “border hotline” with South Korea to discuss issues of mutual interest.
Trump also spoke Thursday with South Korea President Moon Jae-in, the White House said in a statement that included implicit criticism of previous Oval Office occupants.
“The two leaders agreed to continue the campaign of maximum pressure against North Korea and to not repeat mistakes of the past,” the statement.
Trump took criticism for a Tuesday night post, in which he threatened North Korea by saying his “Nuclear Button” was “much bigger” and “more powerful” than the one Kim Jong Un claimed to have.
While Trump and aides said the tweet reflected a commitment to defend the United States against threats from Pyongyang, foreign policy analysts said the aggressive language could be misinterpreted by Kim and possibly lead to a military confrontation.
Kim, in a New Year’s Day speech, claimed he had a “nuclear button” ready to launch weapons against the United States, and proposed negotiations with South Korea about easing military tensions and its possible participation in the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
In his phone call with Moon, Trump pledged security assistance for the Olympics and said he would send a “high-level delegation” to Pyeongchang,
“The two leaders agreed to de-conflict the Olympics and our military exercises so that United States and Republic of Korea forces can focus on ensuring the security of the Games,” the White House statement said.