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Trump expected to take tougher stance on N. Korea, China: U.S. expert

2016/11/11 06:22

WASHINGTON, Nov. 10 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is expected to seek a tougher stance not only on North Korea, but also on China and other nations that support the communist nation, a U.S. expert said Thursday.

"We know he believes China should be playing a larger role. I would expect him to be much tougher on China than the Obama administration. I would expect him to utilize new financial sanctions to a greater extent," said Troy Stangarone, a senior expert at the Korea Economic Institute.

"In the campaign, he suggested Iran needs to cut off its ties with North Korea. So I expect him to be tougher on other states that are believed to support the North Korean regime as well," he said during a discussion on Trump's policy on the Korean Peninsula.

Still, Trump would be more flexible toward new ideas, using his businessman skills to seek solutions, he said.

"I think the challenges he's going to face is that there are very limited options in terms of dealing with North Korea and he will find that," Stangarone said.

In his 2000 book, "The America We Deserve," Trump advocated a surgical strike against the North's nuclear facility before it's too late. In this year's campaign, he said the North is China's problem to fix, though he also expressed a willingness to hold nuclear negotiations with the North's leader while eating hamburgers.

Trump has also called the North's leader a "madman," a "maniac" and a "total nut job," but he's also praised the young dictator, saying it is "amazing" for him to keep control of the country.

Donald Manzullo, KEI president, said that the U.S-Korea alliance will remain strong under Trump.

"It's a very unusual relationship with a very, very close ally. And nobody wants to see the quality of their relationship impaired. Regardless of who controls Congress and regardless of who sits in the White House, that relationship will always be maintained," Manzullo said.

"The Korean people do not have to be worried about the alliance between the Americans and themselves," he said.

Trump's election cast uncertainly over the fate of the alliance between the U.S. and South Korea because the real-estate tycoon has expressed deeply negative views of U.S. security commitments overseas as well as a willingness to withdraw 28,500 American troops from the South unless Seoul pays more for the troops.

His victory also threw into doubt the fate of the free trade agreement between the two countries, a pact that Trump has denounced as a "job-killing" deal and a "disaster." Widespread views are that he could seek a renegotiation of the agreement that has been in effect since 2012.

A day after his election, however, Trump made a series of remarks reaffirming the alliance as he held his first phone call with South Korean President Park Geun-hye, according to Seoul's presidential office.

"We are with you all the way and will not waver," Trump was quoted as saying during his 10-minute call with Park Wednesday evening (Eastern Time). "We will be steadfast and strong with respect to working with you to protect against the instability in North Korea."

   Trump said, "We are going to be with you 100 percent" and "I am with you ... We will all be safe together."