WASHINGTON – Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) told PJM that President Trump’s “Twitter wars” and “bullying” might have “encouraged” North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to enter into peace talks with South Korea.
Kim and South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in met on Friday, marking the first time in more than 10 years that the leaders of the two countries met face-to-face.
“I’m absolutely optimistic. It was good to see the two leaders shake hands and cross over back and forth between North and South, so I think everybody should wish them the most success in coming up with an agreement,” Castro said at the Mayflower Hotel before joining the Creative Coalition’s #RightToBearArts gala on Friday. “But we’ve also got to realize we’ve been to this point at least a few times before in the last dozen years, and so hopefully this time it pans out.”
Following Kim and Moon’s meeting, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that Trump “absolutely” deserves credit for bringing the two countries together, along with “great credit” to China.
Castro was asked for his opinion on Trump’s role in the talks between North and South Korea.
“I think most of the credit goes to the two leaders because those are the ones meeting right now, and in particular to President Moon from South Korea who has a different approach than prior presidents [of] South Korea, at least for the last several years,” he replied. “But certainly the president and his Twitter wars and feuds and I guess bullying of Kim Jong-un, perhaps that encouraged Kim Jong-un to do this, too.”
Castro provided some advice for Trump heading into his personal meeting with Kim.
“I hope, as other Americans do, that he will take the time to prepare. You know, this is a president who, one of his strengths but I think also one of his weaknesses is that he kind of flies by the seat of his pants,” the congressman said. “And this is something where we need to clearly understand as best as possible the nuclear capabilities for North Korea and also what we consider to be denuclearization – I think that’s up for a lot of study and debate at this point.”
Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) said of the meeting between North and South Korea that she’s “a realist and a pragmatist, but whenever we can see people moving toward peace that’s something we should all support – but the devil’s in the details.”
Dingell was asked if she agreed with Trump’s approach to reaching a peace agreement on the Korean Peninsula.
“I’m not a fan of foreign policy by Twitter, but I think all of us should be working toward peace in all of these different hotspots around the world,” she responded. “And I’m not going to take shots at any progress being made towards bringing peace to an area.”
Asked about recommendations for Trump on his upcoming meeting with Kim, Dingell replied, “To work with very seasoned professionals who understand diplomacy and foreign service.”