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Trumps new-found diplomacy must continue

Stephen Oreilly

IT is fair to say that the current president of the United States of America has been a divisive figure on the international stage since he took office in 2016.

Donald Trump's favoured use of social media should not be a problem per se, but some of the communications he has issued have been less than diplomatic.

To be fair Mr Trump has not reserved that style of confrontational rhetoric for Twitter et al, regularly using abusive nicknames when referring to other public figures when giving speeches.

While many find this form of communication cringeworthy, the fact that Mr Trump used it to win the presidential election would suggest that a substantial share of the American electorate either liked the messages he was conveying or the way he was sharing them – or both.

However to many people it seemed that the US president was often thinking on his feet and was not afraid to make threats to other countries whether it was about trading conditions or the use of armed force in various parts of the world.

Surprisingly then, when earlier this year a series of rancorous exchanges between Mr Trump and the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, suddenly took a turn for a better, leading to a proposed summit between the nations, it looked like the Trump method of 'diplomacy' had won the day.

There is probably as much worry about the tenure of Mr Kim as the leader of the communist country as there are misgivings about the US president's style of leadership.

Given that North Korea has been pursuing a policy aimed at developing nuclear weapons in recent years it is natural that people would be worried about such a capacity being under that country's control.

Many would have been thankful that this policy was apparently going to be abandoned as part of the planned summit with the US.

However that optimism has suddenly evaporated with the re-emergence of hostility towards America and the use of insulting and undiplomatic language and issuing of threats causing the Trump administration to call off the meeting earlier this week.

Unusually Mr Trump has not so far responded in kind, even going so far as to say he hoped that a summit would be possible some time in the future. Yes, he has warned that his country's armed forces are ready to respond to any 'reckless' acts by North Korea, but that is surely a standard response.

It is important that this situation is not allowed to escalate. Hopefully this apparently new-found diplomatic approach by the current American administration continues to the point where the threat of armed conflict recedes.

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