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Populist Trump strengthens Kim Jong Un’s influence, writes former UNSG Ban

Populist Trump strengthens Kim Jong Un’s influence, writes former UNSG Ban

Posted March. 06, 2021 07:14,   

Updated March. 06, 2021 07:14


Populist Trump strengthens Kim Jong Un’s influence, writes former UNSG Ban

Former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's critical view of former U.S. President Donald Trump's foreign affairs and security policy will be made public in a memoir scheduled out in June. He pointed out in his forthcoming book that Trump only allowed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to get the upper hand during denuclearization negotiations.

Ban's viewpoint was described in the preface of the upcoming book titled “Resolved: Uniting Nations in A Divided World” according to online news agency PassBlue on Thursday (local time). “Populist bullies are perhaps the least effective diplomats,” the former UN chief wrote. “These leaders, often egotists, give away their strategies and boast about their outcomes — the antithesis of international diplomacy. U.S. President Donald Trump repeatedly promised Americans that North Korea would surrender its nuclear weapons program, strengthening Kim Jong Un’s hand by showing how important a deal was to him personally.”

Ban showed his anger at Trump’s change of his goals at the midway point of a deal from ensuring denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula to safeguarding U.S. mainland. “This is of great concern in Asia because it shows that the United States is thinking about the impact of North Korean missiles on North America, not their impact here in the region,” Ban wrote. “This is an unacceptable position in an ally.”

The former U.N. leader also made a harshly critical comment on the former U.S. administration’s “America First” policy and its strategy toward Iran. He lamented in the book’s introduction, “Today I am more concerned than ever about the divisions among countries, the dangerous rhetoric of hate spewing from some world leaders, and the threats to multilateralism,” pointing out that some countries boycotted and neglected the Paris Agreement and the U.N. Human Rights Council. In response, PassBlue commented, “Ban’s plaint may sound like a general statement, but it is all about Trump,” noting that the Trump administration, in the blind belief in unilateralism in foreign policy, pulled the United States out of international organizations and accords.  

Ban wrote about an anecdote with Nikki Haley, then the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., in 2017 after he left office. According to his memoir, he said to her that Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal would turn out to be a catastrophic mistake and that it would give the wrong message to North Korean leadership that Washington does not keep its words. Back in 2018, Washington ended up withdrawing from the Iran accord while Iran broke the agreement by increasing uranium enrichment levels. “Ban, it seems, was careful to keep his true feelings about Trumpian diplomacy to himself even though he had left the UN by the time Trump became president. Now, however, with Trump out of the White House, Ban is putting his anger on display, particularly when writing about Trump’s handling of momentous nuclear weapons showdowns with Iran and North Korea and the historic Paris accord on climate change,” PassBlue analyzed.

Jae-Dong Yu jarrett@donga.com