See More on Facebook

Diplomacy

Trump believed war with NK could have killed 100m people

The president has made his overtures to Pyongyang a major part of his foreign policy.


Written by

Updated: November 27, 2019

US President Donald Trump estimated that as many as 100 million people could have been killed had the United States gone to war with North Korea under the previous administration of President Barack Obama, according to a new book based on interviews with the president.

Trump’s comment came during a January 2019 meeting at the White House with Doug Wead, a New York Times bestselling author and former adviser to two American presidents, whose book, “Inside Trump’s White House: The Real Story of His Presidency,” was published Tuesday.

During that conversation, Wead wrote, Trump reiterated his belief that Obama would have gone to war with the North had he stayed in office.

“And I also think that thirty to one hundred million people could have been killed,” Wead quoted the president as saying.

South Korea has 51.2 million people and North Korea has a population of 25 million.

Trump then expressed disbelief at experts’ predictions that 100,000-200,000 people would die, a number he said was the equivalent of the population of a South Korean village.

“Well, as you know, Seoul, the capital city, is right by the so-called border,” he continued, according to Wead. “And that is a tough border by the way. An impenetrable border. And Seoul has a population of thirty million people. Kim has ten thousand guns, artillery, they call them cannons. He doesn’t even need a nuclear weapon to create one of the greatest calamities in history.”

The population of Seoul is just under 10 million.

Trump showed Wead some of the letters Kim had written to him.

According to Wead, the North Korean leader made clear that he seeks to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty.

In one letter, Kim wrote: “I firmly believe that the strong will, sincere efforts and unique approach of myself and your Excellency, Mr. President, aimed at opening up a new future between the DPRK and the US will surely come to fruition.”

DPRK stands for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

As the president had lunch with Wead, he lamented the media’s coverage of his historic first summit with Kim in Singapore in June 2018, saying the act of meeting was portrayed as giving up too much.

“And in fact, nothing we did was irreversible,” Trump was quoted as saying. “Canceling the war games saved us millions of dollars and we can start them up anytime we want. So what had we given up, what? We put vicious sanctions on them. The sanctions are still on.”

Trump was referring to the South Korea-US military exercises he suspended in the wake of his Singapore summit. The decision was widely criticized as a concession to the Kim regime, which views the drills as an invasion rehearsal.

Wead said Trump also balked at the scope of the US defense commitment to South Korea.

“Do not forget we have forty thousand soldiers in South Korea all year around,” he said. Around 28,500 American troops are currently stationed in the South.

“Do you know how much we spend defending South Korea? Four and half billion dollars a year. Figure that one out?” he added.

Trump has reportedly demanded that South Korea raise its contribution to shared defense costs to $5 billion next year, a five-fold increase from this year.

Trump also complained to Wead that the people who treated the US the worst were its allies.

“And you’ve heard the story with South Korea with the missiles system, with the THAAD anti-missile system?” he was quoted as saying.

The US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system was placed in South Korea in 2017 to deter North Korean missile provocations.

“We give so much,” Trump said, according to Wead. “We give so much. We get nothing.”



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


About the Author: ANN’s Board member Mr Zaffar Abbas, Editor of Pakistan’s Dawn has won the 2019 Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protest Journalists.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Diplomacy

Indonesia slams Singapore for withholding information on nationals treated for COVID-19

Indonesia complains on Singapore insisting to withhold personal information of its citizens showing COVID-19 symptoms in Jakarta. The Indonesian government has complained that Singapore insists on withholding the personal information of several Indonesian citizens believed to have shown COVID-19 symptoms in Jakarta and tested positive for the lethal virus in the city-state. Jakarta said it was facing difficulties in tracing and isolating those who might have had contact with the patients, now being treated at Singaporean hospitals. “We have asked for the identities of the Indonesian nationals from Singapore. They did not give us the names. How are we going to conduct the tracing in Indonesia? Singapore is adamant on not disclosing their identities,”


By The Jakarta Post
March 13, 2020

Diplomacy

Seoul stocks sink, trigger first circuit breaker for 5 min in 8 years 

The Kospi plummeted more than 5 per cent during Thursday trading, which triggered the stock exchange to temporarily halt trading on Korea’s main bourse, as investor sentiments weighed on the coronavirus pandemic. The Korea Exchange activated a “sidecar,” meaning it temporarily halted the trading of shares, for five minutes around 1:04 p.m. after Kospi 200 index futures slipped over 5 percent. It was the first time the sidecar had been activated for the Kospi since Oct. 4, 2011, when Greece defaulted on its debts. “The temporarily halt trading was due to the plunging of the Kospi 200 index futures. They plummeted from 256.90 points to 243.90 points — down 13 points, or 5.06 percent at that time for over a minute,” a KRX official said. The s


By Asia News Network
March 12, 2020

Diplomacy

Final temporary hospital in Wuhan closes its doors

A total of 15 such hospitals, converted from exhibition halls, sports stadiums and warehouses, received more than 12,000 patients. All the 15 temporary hospitals built to exclusively receive novel coronavirus patients in Wuhan, Hubei province, have been closed, with the daily number of reported new cases hitting a record low. Wuchang Temporary Hospital, which was converted from a sports stadium, closed on Tuesday afternoon after its final 49 patients were discharged, making it the last of the temporary hospitals in Wuhan, the centre of the epidemic in China, to close its doors. The hospital, which was converted within two days, received a total of 1,124 patients with mild symptoms of COVID-19 in the 35 days of its operation. No patients died in the hosp


By China Daily
March 11, 2020

Diplomacy

Social media curbs removed in Jammu and Kashmir after seven months

 Jammu and Kashmir administration removes restrictions on social media use across Union Territory almost seven months after a communication clampdown since the Centre’s announcement to scrap the special status of the erstwhile state under Article 370 and its bifurcation into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh. The Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) administration on Wednesday removed restrictions from social media usage across the Union Territory almost seven months after a communication clampdown on the eve of the Centre’s August 5 announcement to scrap the special status of the erstwhile state under Article 370 and its bifurcation. The directions came after a review of the situation by the J&K Home department. The order, issued without the


By The Island
March 10, 2020

Diplomacy

15 Korean pharmas, 4 state institutes research coronavirus

South Korea’s state-run research institutes and pharmaceutical firms are working hard to find a cure for the new coronavirus. South Korea’s state-run research institutes and pharmaceutical firms are working hard to find a cure for the new coronavirus, according to news reports Monday. Around 15 firms and four institutes here are burning the midnight oil to get an effective cure, according to Korea Pharmaceutical and Bio-Pharma Manufacturers Association. KPBMA Chairman Won Hee-mok emphasized the synergies between private and public research bodies in yielding a faster outcome. The association identified Korean companies working on vaccines — including SK Bioscience, GC Pharma, Boryung Biopharma, Sumagen and G+FLAS Life Sciences. T


By Asia News Network
March 9, 2020

Diplomacy

‘Incredible India’ now being viewed as intolerant India, says FM Qureshi

 “Modi’s policies are taking a bloody and dangerous turn,” says the foreign minister. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Thursday stated that ‘Incredible India’ is now being viewed as “intolerant India”, and ‘Shining India’ as “burning India”, adding that the country is now facing international scrutiny like never before. The foreign minister expressed these views while speaking at a seminar, organised by the Centre for Aerospace and Security Studies, in Islamabad. During his address, Qureshi stated: “Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policies are taking a bloody and dangerous turn, as predicted by Prime Minister Imran Khan.” Referring to the country


By Asia News Network
March 6, 2020