Donald Trump may still be having trouble corralling the votes of some conservative Republicans in the U.S., but he is well on his way to rounding up the endorsements of dictators and leaders of pariah states. The latest--approving articles about him appearing in two media mouthpieces of the regime in North Korea.
Trump, who has also basked in the praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin (while expressing admiration for the authoritarian and anti-Democratic tactics of the Kremlin) was praised as a “wise politician” and a “far-sighted” leader in an article published this week in the regime-backed website DPRK Today.
The so-called Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is, of course, not Democratic at all, and its people have little say in how the country is run. Kim Jong-un, the leader of the country and the son and grandson of its two prior rulers, runs a viciously oppressive regime that has gladly relegated much of its population to famine and destitution while pursuing greater military capability while regularly threatening its enemies -- including the United States -- with nuclear annihilation.
Under Kim’s rule, nothing is published by the state-run media without the consent of the regime, which suggests that the DPRK Today piece, written by a man identified as a Korean scholar studying in China, had the implicit backing of the government.
And the article appeared to see some promise in the Trump candidacy. “The candidate the Americans must choose is not the thickheaded Hillary, who tries to apply an Iranian model to solve the nuclear problem on the Korean Peninsula, but Trump, who says he will try to solve it through direct dialogue with us,” he wrote.
The remarks were an apparent response to Trump saying that he would consider withdrawing US troops from South Korea, which is still officially at war with the north, unless the government in Seoul pays the US more for the protection they provide.
“Leave Now! Hurry!” the article read. “The day that the ‘Yankee Go Home’ slogan becomes reality would be the day Korea is unified again.”
Trump has also said that he would be willing to sit down with North Korea’s Kim for discussions about nuclear weapons.
Another of the regime’s media outlets, the newspaper Rodong Sinmun, was more sparing in its praise for Trump, but was plainly delighted by the discomfort the presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s comments are causing in South Korea. In an editorial Wednesday, it urged South Korea to “stop living as a servant of foreign forces and come back to the side of the Korean nation.”
The editorial came on the same day that the U.S. Treasury Department further tightened restrictions on North Korea’s ability to access the global financial system by declaring the regime a “primary money laundering concern.” That designation makes it unlawful for US banks to provide correspondent accounts to North Korean banks.
Correspondent accounts allow institutions in one country the ability to do a significant amount of business in another country without actually operating there. Barring North Korean banks from US correspondent accounts is a major blow to the regime in Pyongyang in terms of access to the global banking system.