US election 2020: North Korea’s hopes for Trump win as Kim Jong-un ramps up nuclear force | World | News

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Kim Jong-un oversaw the test launch of a solid-fuelled ballistic missile during President Trump’s first few months in office. Cristina Varriale, an expert in North Korea’s nuclear programmes, told Express.co.uk that despite the regime’s ongoing nuclear and missile developments, Mr Trump’s administration has touted its policy towards the regime as a great success.

After Mr Kim revealed a new intercontinental ballistic missile last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared to play down North Korea’s actions.

He told reporters: “So the agreement, the understandings, albeit not achieving our ultimate objective in North Korea, has certainly led to reduced risks for the United States versus where we would have been had we continued on the path that the previous administration has engaged in.”

But Cristina Varriale, a Research Fellow in Proliferation and Nuclear Policy at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, said that since Mr Trump took office North Korea has advanced its missile capability.

She told Express.co.uk: “At lot has changed in the short space of time since Trump first took office.

READ MORE IN OUR US ELECTION 2020 LIVE BLOG

“North Korea has advanced its missile capability and has engaged in the first ever summit with a sitting US President.”

She explained how the Trump administration’s stance places North Korea in a nice position as it is able to continue to develop its nuclear weapons programme.

Ms Varriale added that North Korea may possibly prefer Mr Trump to win the election over his rival Joe Biden.

She said: “Trump represents continuation, so that is probably preferable.

READ MORE: North Korea THREAT: US on alert as ‘smoke or vapour’ near nuclear site

However, last year, Mr Kim praised the “excellent content” of a letter Mr Trump sent to him.

At the time, KCNA reported: “Appreciating the political judging faculty and extraordinary courage of President Trump, Kim Jong Un said that he would seriously contemplate the interesting content.”

Earlier this year, President Trump said he “likes” Mr Kim and that the North Korea leader “likes” him in return.

During the final presidential debate in October, Mr Trump repeated how his administration has a good relationship with Pyongyang.

He said: “North Korea? We’re not in a war. We have a good relationship. People don’t understand—having a good relationship with leaders of other countries is a good thing.”

Ms Varriale said Mr Kim and Mr Trump have “certainly left the door open for more high level engagements”.

She added: “At times it has looked like the personal relationship between Trump and Kim could be beneficial for nuclear talks.

“However, there are questions as to how high up in Trump’s agenda this will be, given that he’s already claimed success in dealing with North Korea, and the range of other issues he’ll have to deal with post-election.”

Due to the unprecedented volume of early votes in this year’s election and the potential for legal challenges, the election winner may not be confirmed for several days or possibly weeks.

On Wednesday morning during a speech at the White House, Mr Trump prematurely declared himself the winner of the US election despite millions of outstanding ballots left to be counted from several key states.





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