Sat, 17 Nov 2018

North Korea stalking Trump and they wonder if he is crazy

By Sheetal Sukhija, China News
14 Nov 2017, 05:02 GMT+10

PYONGYANG, North Korea - Wise men said, knowledge is a powerful weapon and over the last one year, as Donald Trump established his rule in the United States - North Korea sat still and watched his moves. 

For North Korea, that currently considers the United States - its first enemy, learning about the one it considers its enemy became a top priority, apart from its accelerated nuclear weapons program. 

Not only did the nuclear nation, prepare and test its most powerful hydrogen bomb till date, it equipped its arsenal with an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), which it claims and reach and devastate the U.S. mainland, and any other part of the world. 

But in the game of power, North Korea is believed to have used Trump’s first year in one of the world’s most powerful positions - that of the American President, to learn about him, his strengths and his weaknesses.

And after a whole year of learning, experts have revealed that North Korea officials are highly confused. 

They are believed to be uncertain if Trump is “crazy” or if he is merely “putting on an act.”

A report in Politico has revealed that North Korean leaders are genuinely uncertain about Trump’s sanity, and yet they are aware of the U.S. President’s actions increasing the risk of armed conflict between the U.S. and their country.

The report quoted Suzanne DiMaggio, a scholar at New America who has spent nearly two decades engaged in secret conversations with North Korea as saying that the North Korean leaders "want to know if he’s crazy or if this is just an act.”

DiMaggio reportedly made it clear that North Korean leaders are confused about Trump's "end game" and are following everything he does closely in the hope of learning more.

She cited one of the president’s latest tweets as one example of the type of erratic leadership that has confused and concerned North Koreans.

Late on Saturday, Trump took to Twitter and said, “Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me "old," when I would NEVER call him "short and fat?" Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend - and maybe someday that will happen!”

DiMaggio reportedly said, “They follow the news very closely; they watch CNN 24/7; they read his tweets and other things.”

According to some foreign policy scholars, Trump is believed to be implementing his own version of what President Richard Nixon referred to as the madman theory. 

The scholars explained that during the Cold War, Nixon claimed he could exert his will over the Soviet Union and North Vietnam by sending out indications that he could be "crazy" enough to drop a nuclear weapon on their countries. 

According to the theory, it would compel America's adversaries to come to the bargaining table because they couldn't trust Nixon to possess the good sense necessary to avoid starting a nuclear war.

Now, North Korea is reportedly concerted about two things that has made up his reaction to Pyongyang - Trump's tweeting and his insults. 

DiMaggio said that North Koreans have tried to understand America’s volatile president and have asked her not only if Trump is nuts, but what and how to think about everything from his public undercutting of his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible campaign collusion with Russia.

She said that North Korea was ready after Trump’s surprise election to discuss a new round of official talks with the U.S. to defuse the standoff over their nuclear weapons.

However, Trump’s escalating rhetoric and Twitter rants may have foreclosed that option. 

She said that considering that Trump is unwilling to abide by the Iranian nuclear treaty, the North Korean leadership doesn't know if the president would honor any deal that he struck with them. 

Further, they are also not sure if the ongoing Russia scandal will take him down in the near future.

DiMaggio said of the North Korean leadership, "They question his erratic behavior, and also his mounting problems here at home, with the investigation being conducted by Robert Mueller, and they are asking, ‘Why should we begin negotiations with the Trump administration, when Donald Trump may not be president much longer?’" 

DiMaggio, along with Joel Wit, a longtime U.S. diplomat turned scholar at Johns Hopkins University who founded the influential North Korea-watching website 38North, have been quietly meeting with North Koreans to talk about the country’s nuclear program.

The duo have reportedly secretly met with North Koreans four times over the past year, in Geneva, Pyongyang, Oslo and Moscow. 

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