Advertisement
Features

Trump and Kim: the war of words continues

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un looks to reopen a hotline with the South, all the while continuing his slanging match with Donald Trump.

877_Kim-634
Kim Jong-un: reopening the hotline

Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, has proffered an olive branch to South Korea, says the Financial Times. His New Year's address acknowledged the need to reduce military tension with the South and opened the door to dialogue.

In spite of these overtures, Kim maintained his hostile stance towards the US, urging the mass production of nuclear weapons in defiance of the toughest UN sanctions yet. "The US should be aware it is a reality, not a threat, that a nuclear button is always on my desk. All of the US mainland is now within the striking distance of our nuclear weapons."

Advertisement - Article continues below

President Donald Trump responded a few hours later by tweeting about his "much bigger and more powerful" button, a remark dismissed by Christopher Hill, the former US ambassador and veteran negotiator with North Korea as "not helpful".

The reopening of the hotline between North and South Korea after nearly two years is "part of a carefully planned strategy" by Kim Jong-un, says The Times. "Driving a wedge" between South Korea's president, Moon Jae-in, and Trump, is "an obvious and attractive ploy for Pyongyang".

Talks between the North and South could open the door to wider negotiations "in which the US, China and Russia could offer economic and diplomatic incentives in return for a freeze in nuclear testing", say Choe Sang-hun and David Sanger in The New York Times. However, that would mean freezing a status quo that Trump regards as "intolerable".

Yet the US has few other choices, says Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post. North Korea has been conducting nuclear weapons tests ever since George W Bush was president. How does it help America to say it will not tolerate what it is already tolerating?

The alternative is a "bloodbath". "Everyone needs to lower the temperature and begin talking in reasonable terms about achievable goals. Something is wrong when the rhetoric from Pyongyang is no more belligerent than what we hear around Washington."

Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended

How long can the good times roll?
Economy

How long can the good times roll?

Despite all the doom and gloom that has dominated our headlines for most of 2019, Britain and most of the rest of the developing world is currently en…
19 Dec 2019
South Africa faces a big economic storm
Emerging markets

South Africa faces a big economic storm

Recession hit South Africa has been the fifth-worst hit country in the world measured by the number of coronavirus cases. The local stockmarket has so…
7 Aug 2020
Is the bond market wrong about inflation?
Government bonds

Is the bond market wrong about inflation?

The bond rally suggests that markets are sanguine about inflation, but the gold rally suggests inflation is a real threat.
7 Aug 2020
The charts that matter: gold finally sets a new record high 
Global Economy

The charts that matter: gold finally sets a new record high 

As gold surges past its previous high, John Stepek looks at how it's affected the charts that matter most to the global economy.
1 Aug 2020

Most Popular

Don’t despair on dividends – these companies could be set to bring them back
Income investing

Don’t despair on dividends – these companies could be set to bring them back

The value of dividends paid out by UK stocks has plummeted this year as companies “rebase” their payment policies. But things could soon start to look…
6 Aug 2020
Gold hits the big $2,000 level – are Aim miners about to play catch up?
Gold

Gold hits the big $2,000 level – are Aim miners about to play catch up?

With the price of gold shooting through $2,000 an ounce, the yellow metal looks unstoppable. Things are so bullish, even Aim-listed junior gold miners…
5 Aug 2020
Too embarrassed to ask: what is “real return”?
Too embarrassed to ask

Too embarrassed to ask: what is “real return”?

MoneyWeek's latest "too embarrassed to ask” video explains what a real return is and why it's so important for investors.
5 Aug 2020