April 28, 2018
Austrailian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said President Trump "absolutely" deserved credit for the peace talks and historic meeting between the leaders of North and South Korea.
Trump absolutely deserves credit on Korean peace talks, Australias prime minister says
Turnbull told reporters in Sydney on Saturday that Trump's hard-line approach on the Korean Peninsula helped lead to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un open up to peace talks and the meeting this week between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the Demilitarized Zone separating the two nations.
"I’ve given him that credit because Donald Trump has taken a very, very strong, hard line on the denuclearization issue and he has been able to bring in the support of the global community and, in particular, China," Turnbull said, according to Australian media.
For months, tension built as Trump and Kim slung insults and terrifying threats of war back and forth as Kim continued testing missiles. Trump's name-calling accompanied sanctions and calls for neighboring countries to punish the nation.
North Korea's economy is heavily tied to China so when the Chinese government enforced the sanctions on trade, Kim felt the effects. Turnbull said this was critical to applying pressure on the country, according to The Australian Financial Review.
"You have to give great credit to President Xi and China for enforcing these sanctions," he said. "That coupled with the strong stand that President Trump has taken – and other nations (including) Japan and Australia – but overwhelmingly the pressure has come from China and the United States."
Turnbull added the ultimate goal is "that peninsula must be denuclearized," a goal that Kim echoed during the summit with South Korea.
The praise comes as the U.S. continues to plan an unprecedented meeting between Trump and Kim. On Saturday, Trump tweeted that plans are coming together.
"Just had a long and very good talk with President Moon of South Korea," he posted on Twitter. "Things are going very well, time and location of meeting with North Korea is being set. Also spoke to Prime Minister Abe of Japan to inform him of the ongoing negotiations."
The Pentagon on Saturday also said Secretary of Defense James Mattis spoke with South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo about the summit between South and North Korea.
"Both Secretary Mattis and Minister Song expressed serious commitment to a diplomatic resolution that achieves complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea," said Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White. "Secretary Mattis reaffirmed the ironclad U.S. commitment to defend the ROK using the full spectrum of U.S. capabilities."
The meeting between leaders in North and South Korea produced plenty of goodwill that the Trump administration can build on, but it avoided any clearly defined agreements that could box in the U.S. administration when Trump holds his own meeting with Kim.
A joint statement after the Korean meeting pledged to pursue denuclearization, which is the key issue for the United States, but didn’t explain how to achieve it, a timeline in which it could be done or the possibility of inspections.
The two countries “confirmed the common goal of realizing, through complete denuclearization, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula,” according to the joint statement signed by Moon and Kim.
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