Muted response in Seoul to Donald Trump's latest North Korea tweet

US president Donald Trump's latest tweets on North Korea have received a muted response in South Korea, where media focused more on US secretary of state Rex Tillerson's acknowledgement that the US is keeping communication channels open with the Pyongyang.

South Korea's largest daily newspaper, Chosun Ilbo, warned in an editorial that any US-North Korea talks should not recognise the North as a nuclear state, or the South would be also be forced to seek nuclear arms.

Monday also marks the start of a week-long national holiday in South Korea, so many people were focused on traffic conditions for getting away.

Mr Tillerson made headlines on Saturday when he said in Beijing that the Trump administration is probing North Korea's willingness to talk, though his spokeswoman later said that North Korea has shown no interest in talks on denuclearisation.

On Sunday, Mr Trump tweeted that he had told Mr Tillerson "he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man", referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The South Korean president's office declined to comment.

A small progressive online newspaper, Voice of People, said in an editorial that Mr Trump's comments are signs of confusion in US policy toward North Korea, though it said the tweet is unlikely to cause a major change in Mr Tillerson's position.

"Such unstable US policy toward North Korea is entirely a burden on us," the editorial read.

It has been previously established that Mr Trump and Mr Tillerson have differing opinions on foreign policy, said Cheng Xiaohe, an associate professor at Renmin University's School of International Studies.

He said: "In my view, Trump hopes both North Korea and China hear what he said on Twitter.

"His Twitter comments put greater pressure on North Korea, which is at a critical road crossing now, so it must make a choice. In the meantime, the US hopes China will continue to put pressure on North Korea."

Zhang Lifan, an independent commentator in China, said he believes Mr Trump's latest tweets show that the US president is losing patience with North Korea.

He said that China and the US need to find a way to resolve the nuclear issue, because past experience shows that negotiations with the North are useless.

AP


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