Ad­viser rules out Trump meet­ing North Korea’s Kim in near fu­ture

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

WASH­ING­TON:

An ad­viser to Don­ald Trump said on Tues­day he could not fore­see any cir­cum­stances in the short or medium term in which the Re­pub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee would meet the leader of North Korea if he be­came pres­i­dent.

The re­mark ap­peared to take a step back from Trump’s po­si­tion in May, when he told Reuters he was will­ing to talk to Kim Jong Un to try to stop Pyongyang’s nu­clear pro­gram. Peter Hoek­stra, a for­mer Re­pub­li­can con­gress­man and now an ad­viser to Trump, was asked at a de­bate on US pol­icy to­wards North Korea un­der what con­di­tions Trump would meet Kim. “I can’t imag­ine any set of cir­cum­stances, in the short or in­ter­me­di­ate fu­ture, that would see Pres­i­dent Trump in a sum­mit meet­ing with the leader of North Korea,” he said.

Hoek­stra avoided di­rectly re­peat­ing sug­ges­tions by Trump that US al­lies Ja­pan and South Korea could be al­lowed to de­velop nu­clear weapons to de­fend them­selves against North Korea, rather than re­ly­ing on the US nu­clear um­brella. “That will be de­cided once South Korea, Ja­pan the United States iden­tify what their ob­jec­tives are go­ing to be vis-‡-vis North Korea and the tac­tics they are go­ing to put in place to ad­dress that ob­jec­tive,” he said, when asked to clar­ify where Trump stood on the is­sue.

How­ever, Hoek­stra added that it would be “stated very, very clearly, as we go into those dis­cus­sions with South Korea and Ja­pan, that ev­ery­thing’s on the ta­ble.”

For­mer As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary of State for East Asia Kurt Camp­bell, a sup­porter of Trump’s ri­val Hil­lary Clin­ton, said: “The real is­sue here is, ‘Is this strate­gi­cally wise?’”

Ac­cord­ing to Camp­bell, Trump had said “maybe in the heat of the cam­paign ... things that have been deeply un­nerv­ing to Asia.” Hoek­stra said Trump was not seek­ing to chal­lenge US friend­ships in Asia, but it was nec­es­sary to sit down with al­lies to de­velop a suc­cess­ful North Korea strat­egy.

Asked about Trump’s com­plaints that Asian al­lies were freeload­ing on the United States, he said Trump’s business back­ground meant some of his state­ments came out “a lit­tle bit more coarse than some of us in the po­lit­i­cal world might be com­fort­able with.”

But al­lies would be ex­pected to pay their “fair share” as US tax­pay­ers could not sub­si­dize the de­fense of oth­ers, he said. Asked if their can­di­dates con­sid­ered pre­emp­tive strikes a con­ceiv­able means of deal­ing with North Korea’s nu­clear pro­gram, both Camp­bell and Hoek­stra said no op­tions were off the ta­ble. —Reuters

JAKARTA: In this file photo taken in Jakarta on Oc­to­ber 5, 2016 In­done­sian mur­der sus­pect Jessica Ku­mala Wongso (C) en­ters the court­room prior to her trial at the Cen­tral Jakarta court to hear the in­dict­ment of the pub­lic pros­e­cu­tor. —AFP

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