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[ed] Trump's ignorance

Wrong foreign policy remarks must be addressed

Since entering the U.S. presidential race, Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner, has shown a shallow knowledge of foreign policy.

His ignorance about East Asia, in particular, has been a major cause for concern to South Korea, which is always under a serious security threat from North Korea.

What Trump said concerning Korea and Japan in his interview with the New York Times late last week makes this worry all the more serious. According to the interview, the American billionaire voiced his usual ''free-riding'' argument again, saying that U.S. troops must be pulled from both South Korea and Japan if they do not pay more for defense.

Trump also said he would be open to allowing the two Asian countries to build nuclear arsenals, noting that if the U.S. ''keeps on its path, they're going to want to have that anyway.'' This strongly raises the possibility that he would tolerate Seoul and Tokyo developing nuclear weapons if he is elected president.

The two issues are very important to South Korea. But Trump appears to have commented about them without much thinking, although we do not know if he made the remarks after consulting his aides.

His imprudent remarks could have been taken lightly had he merely been one of the 17 Republican presidential candidates. But when he is highly expected to be the Republican Party presidential nominee, there is a strong need to figure out precisely what he is thinking.

It is unclear if Trump would beat Hillary Clinton, the favorite Democratic candidate, in the presidential election, but we have to be fully prepared for all possibilities.

Trump's foreign policy, summed up as "America first," is a far cry from America's traditional internationalism since the 1930s. True, most of his arguments are far from reality, causing people to question whether he is qualified to be a leading presidential hopeful.

Trump's perception about the two issues concerning South Korea is wrong in every respect.

With regard to his assertion about Seoul's free ride in matters of defense, Trump should know that South Korea contributed 920 billion won in 2014 to share the cost of the 28,500 U.S. troops stationed here. If Seoul's indirect support is included, the contribution would reach nearly $1 billion. Simultaneously notable is that the presence of American forces in South Korea also makes a great contribution to Uncle Sam.

Allowing Seoul and Tokyo to possess atomic weapons directly contradicts Washington's long-held stance on nuclear non-proliferation in Northeast Asia and shakes global non-proliferation efforts. Our endeavor to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula would be undermined.

Against this backdrop, the problem is that our government has not responded properly to Trump's misguided foreign policy proposals that could destabilize peace on the peninsula. If left untouched, his remarks might become a fait accompli.

So the government should examine his remarks accurately and sort out problems. The next step is to provide the Trump camp with accurate information.

Wrong foreign policy remarks must be addressed

Since entering the U.S. presidential race, Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner, has shown a shallow knowledge of foreign policy.

His ignorance about East Asia, in particular, has been a major cause for concern to South Korea, which is always under a serious security threat from North Korea.

What Trump said concerning Korea and Japan in his interview with the New York Times late last week makes this worry all the more serious. According to the interview, the American billionaire voiced his usual ''free-riding'' argument again, saying that U.S. troops must be pulled from both South Korea and Japan if they do not pay more for defense.

Trump also said he would be open to allowing the two Asian countries to build nuclear arsenals, noting that if the U.S. ''keeps on its path, they're going to want to have that anyway.'' This strongly raises the possibility that he would tolerate Seoul and Tokyo developing nuclear weapons if he is elected president.

The two issues are very important to South Korea. But Trump appears to have commented about them without much thinking, although we do not know if he made the remarks after consulting his aides.

His imprudent remarks could have been taken lightly had he merely been one of the 17 Republican presidential candidates. But when he is highly expected to be the Republican Party presidential nominee, there is a strong need to figure out precisely what he is thinking.

It is unclear if Trump would beat Hillary Clinton, the favorite Democratic candidate, in the presidential election, but we have to be fully prepared for all possibilities.

Trump's foreign policy, summed up as "America first," is a far cry from America's traditional internationalism since the 1930s. True, most of his arguments are far from reality, causing people to question whether he is qualified to be a leading presidential hopeful.

Trump's perception about the two issues concerning South Korea is wrong in every respect.

With regard to his assertion about Seoul's free ride in matters of defense, Trump should know that South Korea contributed 920 billion won in 2014 to share the cost of the 28,500 U.S. troops stationed here. If Seoul's indirect support is included, the contribution would reach nearly $1 billion. Simultaneously notable is that the presence of American forces in South Korea also makes a great contribution to Uncle Sam.

Allowing Seoul and Tokyo to possess atomic weapons directly contradicts Washington's long-held stance on nuclear non-proliferation in Northeast Asia and shakes global non-proliferation efforts. Our endeavor to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula would be undermined.

Against this backdrop, the problem is that our government has not responded properly to Trump's misguided foreign policy proposals that could destabilize peace on the peninsula. If left untouched, his remarks might become a fait accompli.

So the government should examine his remarks accurately and sort out problems. The next step is to provide the Trump camp with accurate information.


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