South Korean President Moon Jae-in has given weight to the push for Donald Trump to be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for his part in the de-escalation of hostilities with North Korea.
Mr Moon brushed off a suggestion that he should receive the honour, saying the US President “can take the Nobel prize” if peace is returned to the Korean peninsula.
Mr Moon made the comment in response to a suggestion that he receive the award by the widow of late South Korean president Kim Dae-jung, who was a Nobel Peace Prize recipient in 2000 after a summit with then-North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.
The South Korean leader held a summit with current the North Korean leader last week in which he and Kim Jong-un, the son of Kim Jong Il, walked together across the tense border and agreed to a raft of initiatives aimed at easing decades of animosity.
Mr Moon responded to the suggestion of Nobel glory by saying, “President Trump can take the Nobel prize. The only thing we need is peace,” according to the South’s presidential office.
Kim Jong-un and Mr Moon on Friday pledged at a summit to end hostilities between their countries and work towards the “complete denuclearisation” of the Korean peninsula.
Mr Trump is preparing for his own summit with Kim, which he said would take place in the next three to four weeks.
The Trump administration has led a global effort to impose ever stricter sanctions on North Korea and the US President exchanged bellicose threats with Kim in the past year over North Korea’s development of nuclear missiles capable of reaching the US.
Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop appeared to support the push for a Trump peace prize Monday when she told ABC radio today the US President deserved to be honoured if helped broker peace on the Korean peninsula.
“If we were to witness a permanent peace on the Korean peninsula, and a denuclearised Korean peninsula, that would be an extraordinary outcome and would be deserving of the highest praise,” she said.
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of six awards announced annually in October by the Norwegian-based Nobel Committee.
Previous winners of the Nobel Peace Prize have included Mr Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai and Nelson Mandela.
In January, Mr Moon said Mr Trump “deserves big credit for bringing about the inter-Korean talks. It could be a resulting work of the US-led sanctions and pressure.”
Mr Trump also been quick to take credit for the increasing thaw in relations between North and South Korea.
“With all of the failed ‘experts’ weighing in, right now if I wasn’t firm, strong and willing to commit our total ‘might’ against the North,” he wrote on Twitter in January.
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. Fools, but talks are a good thing!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 4, 2018
Mr Trump on Tuesday morning suggested he’d like to hold the meeting at the demilitarised zone near the border of North and South Korea, with Singapore raised as another possibility.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday that Mr Trump would maintain a “pressure campaign” of harsh sanctions on North Korea until Kim scraps his nuclear weapon program.