US President Donald Trump has mocked North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, saying Secretary of State Rex Tillerson should not negotiate the ‘Rocket Man’ or being nice to him to stop Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions. Trump’s opposition to the possibility of talks with North Korea fuelled speculation that the president and his secretary of state were in disagreement on how to deal with the regime.
Trump also stressed that he “won’t fail” on a front where three of his predecessors – Bill Clinton, George W Bush and Barack Obama failed. “Being nice to Rocket Man hasn’t worked in 25 years, why would it work now? Clinton failed, Bush failed, and Obama failed. I won’t fail,” Trump said.
Trump had earlier also referred to the North Korean leader as ‘Rocket Man’. Tillerson, who is in China, had said that the US was in direct communication with North Korea as part of their effort to reduce tension over its nuclear programme.
“The whole situation is a bit overheated right now. If North Korea would stop firing its missiles, that would calm things down a lot,” Tillerson had said on Saturday. Soon his spokesperson Heather Nauert said North Korean officials have shown no indication that they are interested in or are ready for talks regarding denuclearisation.
In the past few weeks, Trump had said that he was open to a military option, even though it is not his preferred choice. Following Trump’s tweets, mainstream American media prominently displayed the differences between the president and his secretary of state. “Trump undercuts Tillerson,” said a headline in The Washington Post.
Meanwhile, The New York Times reported that “President Trump seemed to undercut Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, belittling the prospect of a diplomatic resolution to the crisis with North Korea”. “Trump rejects dialogue with North Korea,” reported The Wall Street Journal.