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Lawmaker: Pyongyang ‘Positively Gleeful’ Over Trump’s ‘Twitter Shame' of South Korea

WASHINGTON – Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.) said the North Korean regime “must be positively gleeful” over President Trump’s initial Twitter reaction to their recent nuclear test.

Murphy, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, argued that Trump and “too many members” of his administration “do not appreciate that the rhetoric they use and the actions they take to appeal to certain domestic political constituencies” could harm “relationships with foreign allies” and “undermine our nation’s security.”

Last weekend, Trump tweeted: “South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing!”

“Consider, for example, President Trump’s initial reaction, via Twitter, to North Korea’s recent nuclear test. If there were any event whose gravity called for a thoughtful, deliberate and sober-minded response not limited to 140 characters, this was it. Unfortunately, the president turned again to social media. Even more troubling than the medium through which he chose to deliver his message was the message itself. The president accused South Korea, under President Moon, of appeasement, evoking the historical memory of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s failed effort to stop German aggression by agreeing to Hitler’s demands,” Murphy said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) during the ROK-U.S. Strategic Forum.

“Use of such a loaded term may play well with a certain segment of the president’s base, but it’s hard to overstate just how false, how foolish, and how potentially damaging this claim can be. Here we are facing an unprecedented threat of military escalation by a rogue nuclear state, and the leader of the most powerful nation on earth chooses to Twitter shame and inflame our close ally. If one of North Korea’s goals is to test the U.S.-South Korea alliance, as I believe it is, then Pyongyang must be positively gleeful over this Twitter exchange,” she added.

Murphy also expressed concern with the “inability of the administration to nominate and secure Senate confirmation of qualified individuals to fill positions at State and Defense responsible for policy toward the Korean Peninsula and East Asia.”

“There’s no nominated U.S. ambassador to Seoul. There’s no nominated assistant secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. There’s no undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security. There’s no special envoy for the North Korean Human Rights Issues. Over at the Department of Defense, no individual has been nominated and confirmed for the position of assistant secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs or deputy assistant secretary of Defense for East Asia,” she said.

“I mean absolutely no disrespect to the individuals who may be holding these positions on an interim or acting basis – some of them are excellent,” the congresswoman continued. “But we all know that Senate confirmation provides enhanced credibility and stability, and when it comes to international affairs in general and alliance preservation in particular, personnel is policy.”