Trump made a couple faux pas related to Korea this week. First: He said a military armada was being sent to North Korea but he was off by thousands of miles. Second: he thinks Korea “actually used to be part of China.”
The Atlantic reported that Trump had recalled a conversation with President Xi Jinping of China:
He then went into the history of China and Korea. Not North Korea, Korea. And you know, you’re talking about thousands of years … and many wars. And Korea actually used to be a part of China. And after listening for 10 minutes I realized that not—it’s not so easy. You know I felt pretty strongly that they have—that they had a tremendous power over China. I actually do think they do have an economic power, and they have certainly a border power to an extent, but they also—a lot of goods come in. But it’s not what you would think.
The Korea Times says the false claim about Korea has disturbed Koreans.
“No respectable historian would make such a claim (that Korea used to be part of China),” Kyung Moon Hwang, a history professor at the University of Southern California
The early history is controversial. China did have significant periods of conflict with Korea in ancient times. In 108BC the Han emperor Wudi conquered the northern part of the Korean peninsula. Modern historians in China and Korea continue to have differences of opinion on the matter with the implication that China could have some kind of claim should North Korea collapse.
This ancient history still has political repercussions in today’s world, and for our current President to suggest that all of Korea was ever part of China is one more alarming bit of evidence that he often talks before knowing what he’s actually talking about.
As the Atlantic put it:
Many people have said Trump is ignorant on policy issues, but in this case, Trump himself fessed up to having had no real understanding of the history of the Korean peninsula. In fact, he knew so little that in just 10 minutes, his own view of the conflict was turned around.
Trump’s recent reversals of policy involving China and North Korea indicate that he’s at least open to changing policy once he’s fully informed. Yet he’s made so many turnarounds in just one week that it’s become a highly dangerous crash-course playing out on the world stage. Then there’s also the potential that he’s willing to use the military as a distraction from the PR problems of an FBI investigation into his ties with Russia.
To be responsible for one of the world’s largest militaries, it does seem like relevant information to know that the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson is in Indonesian waters thousands of miles away when you state that it’s coming to deter North Korea. Fortunately, Kim Jong-un didn’t attempt an attack on South Korea or Japan over the weekend, so we can all stop holding our breath on that one for a second.
Amazing. Spicer says it wasn't a lie to say warship being sent near N Korea when it was actually going other way cause itll be there someday
— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) April 19, 2017
Though “he bragged that he could easily learn everything he needed to know in just a few days,” it’s looking like it’s going to take a while longer for Donald. Meanwhile, North Korea is creating propaganda videos showing an unidentified U.S. city being destroyed. How very comforting…
Who knows what Donald will do about it tomorrow?
Jimmy Kimmel offers a comedic guide to North Korea for Donald Trump. See it below:
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) April 19, 2017