President Donald Trump claimed Saturday to have the backing of the leaders of China and Japan for his high-risk plan to hold a summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
In posts to his Twitter account, Trump said his decision to agree to a meeting with Kim – which caught Asian capitals, and many in his own administration, by surprise – was being viewed as a positive step by leaders who watched nervously as U.S.-North Korea tensions escalated.
Trump said he and Chinese President Xi Jinping had “spoken at length” about the planned but so far unscheduled summit, and that Xi had said he “appreciates that the U.S. is working to solve the problem diplomatically rather than going with the ominous alternative. China continues to be helpful!”
Less than an hour later, Trump tweeted that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was “very enthusiastic about talks with North Korea.” The tweets represent Trump’s simplistic characterization of conversations in recent days with Asian leaders whose reactions to his diplomatic gambit have been more complicated.
China, Japan and South Korea were rattled over the past year by an unprecedented exchange of threats and insults between Trump and Kim as North Korea carried out ballistic-missile and nuclear tests. The danger is immediate: North Korea has fired missiles over Japanese territory, while China is confronting the prospect of war on its border.
(c) 2018, The Washington Post · Greg Miller