South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s office has said it would be wrong to dwell on criticism leveled by former US leader Donald Trump, who cast doubt on Moon’s leadership and negotiating skills.
In an apparent attempt to defuse the situation, Moon’s office remained tight-lipped about the scathing attacks by Trump, saying that it was “not appropriate to comment on former foreign leaders’ statements,” according to the Korea Times.
“We had negotiations, abiding by principles,” an official at the presidential office said, referring to the painstaking talks with Pyongyang.
Trump lashed out at Moon on Friday, calling him “weak as a leader and as a negotiator.” He accused the president of not paying enough for military aid in what he said was a “long-term military rip-off of the USA.”
“We were treated like fools for decades,” Trump said. By contrast, the former US president said that he had grown to like Northern Korean leader Kim Jong-un “under the most trying of circumstances,” and claimed that Kim never respected Moon.
Despite Trump’s harsh tone, it was actually Moon who fired the first shots. Speaking to the New York Times last week, the South Korean president said that Trump “beat around the bush and failed to pull it through” when it came to forcing Kim into scrapping his nuclear program.
Moon expressed hope that Joe Biden will go down as “a historic president that has achieved substantive and irreversible progress” for the complete denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula.
Trump held several face-to-face meetings with Kim and became the first sitting US president to cross the demilitarized zone and set foot on North Korean soil in 2019. He often touted his supposedly warm personal relationship with Kim, but that did not stop Pyongyang from continuing to conduct missile tests throughout Trump’s term in office.