Presumptive US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has been praised by North Korean state-owned media for his “inflammatory policies”.
An editorial published on Tuesday in North Korea’s state-run media, DPRK Today, described the billionaire with Korean words that reportedly translate to “wise” and “far-sighted”.
And it is no surprise as to why the article supports Mr Trump.
The editorial was attributed to Han Yong-mook, described as a Chinese North Korean scholar. He praised Mr Trump for offering to meet North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and threatening to remove US forces from South Korea.
“Yes do it [remove US troops], 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,” the scholar wrote, as translated by Huffington Post.
The editorial was responding to Mr Trump’s recent suggestion that he would meet Kim Jong-un in an effort to stop Pyongyang’s nuclear program.
North Korea again defied international condemnation on Tuesday when it launched a failed missile long-range test.
The editorial also referred to Mr Trump’s speech in March where he raised the possibility of withdrawing US military forces from Seoul if it refused to contribute more to defence costs. Mr Trump reaffirmed this position to CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Tuesday, saying South Korea must either protect itself or “pay us”.
Pyongyang has long called for the withdrawal of US troops from Seoul. The two countries are still technically at war.
For these reasons, the editorial called on US voters to vote for Mr Trump over his “dull” presumptive Democrat rival Hillary Clinton.
“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,” Mr Han wrote, as translated by Huffington Post.
“Trump said he will not get involved in the war between the South and the North. Isn’t this fortunate from North Koreans’ perspective?”
A changed stance?
An academic knowledgeable on North Korea said the editorial was not evidence of official support for Trump, but rather a ‘testing of the waters’.
“Admittedly it is not exactly Pyongyang speaking, but it is certainly Pyongyang flying a kite, or testing the waters,” Leeds University professor Aidan Foster-Carter told NK News.
If the editorial did indeed reflect official government policy, it would mark a change of stance. Two senior North Korean officials dismissed Mr Trump’s offer of diplomatic talks last month.
North Korean ambassador to Britain Hyon Hak Bong dismissed the offer as an election ploy.
“We see it as the dramatics of a popular actor,” Mr Hyon told Associated Press.
“North Korea has no package ready – the United States also has no package ready – to advance relations between the two countries.
“No progress can be made. That is why we say we have no interest whatever in remarks made by him.”
The remarks were echoed by So Se-pyong, North Korean ambassador to the United Nations.
“It is up to the decision of my Supreme Leader whether he decides to meet or not, but I think his idea or talk is nonsense,” Mr So told Reuters in May.
“It’s for utilisation of the presidential election, that’s all. A kind of a propaganda or advertisement.”
-with James Ried and Jackson Stiles