August 13, 2020 10:09
U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday predicted that nuclear armament for Korea, Japan, and Taiwan will become a "big point of discussion" in response to China's alleged aggression.
Asked by Hugh Hewitt on MSNBC radio whether Korea, Japan or even Taiwan should seek nuclear weapons in response to China's "recklessness with [Covid-19]" and "aggressiveness," Trump said, "I'm not going to suggest anything."
But he added, "It causes problems. And it's a big point of discussion for us over the next two months... a very big point of discussion."
That suggests he is likely to make the threat of nuclear armament of China's neighbors a major talking point in his flagging re-election campaign until November.
Meanwhile, a new book claims that Trump threatened to cut troop numbers in Korea to extort a sharp increase in Seoul's share of the upkeep cost for the U.S. Forces Korea.
CNN security correspondent Jim Sciutto quotes unidentified military officers to that effect in his book "The Madman Theory: Trump Takes on the World" out Tuesday.
He recalls that Trump demanded a fivefold increase in Seoul's contribution, and when Korea demurred, U.S. officials walked out.
"If Seoul did not pay up, the National Security Council instructed its negotiators to hint to Korean officials that the president could withdraw some U.S. forces from the peninsula," Sciutto writes.
"Specifically, the threat involved the removal of an entire brigade combat team, comprising some 4,000 U.S. soldiers -- about one in seven of the nearly 28,500 U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines based there."
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