Trump congratulates North Korea's ‘Kim Jung Un’, faces flak from own party

By India Today World Desk: Former US President Donald Trump sparked controversy after he congratulated North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on the country’s admission to the World Health Organization’s executive board.

“Congratulations to Kim Jung Un!” the former president wrote on Truth Social, misspelling the North Korean leader’s name while sharing news of the admission.

The post drew immediate condemnation from Republican presidential candidates and state party leaders.

Trump’s former UN ambassador and 2024 opponent Nikki Haley took to Twitter and said, “Kim Jong Un starves his own people. It’s a total farce that North Korea has a leading role at the World Health Organization”.

Kim Jong Un starves his own people.
It’s a total farce that North Korea has a leading role at the World Health Organization.
— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) June 2, 2023

Reacting to Trump’s congratulatory message, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp said, “Taking our country back from Joe Biden does not start with congratulating North Korea’s murderous dictator.”

Trump’s GOP rivals for the White House continued their criticism, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who called the North Korean leader “a murderous dictator”, reported The New York Post.

“Kim Jong Un is an enemy of America who threatens peace and freedom. The fact that Trump delusionally believes otherwise makes him a useful idiot for China and unfit to be president,” former GOP Maryland governor Larry Page also lashed out at Trump.

Trump famously enjoyed a “hot-and-cold relationship” with Kim during his one-term presidency. The two leaders often traded insults, with Trump deriding Kim as “little Rocket Man” and the latter hitting back with epithets like “dotard” and “frightened dog”.

However, after becoming the first sitting US president to visit the isolated communist country, Trump began warming up to and praising the 39-year-old autocrat. In Trump’s own words, he shares a “unique relationship and a special friendship” with Kim.

Dr Jong Min Pak this week became the first North Korean official to be appointed for a three-year term to the WHO’s executive board.

“What this means is that one of the world’s most horrific regimes is now a part of a group that sets and enforces the standards and norms for the global governance of health care,” UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer was quoted by The Independent as saying. “It is an absurd episode for a key UN agency that is in much need of self-reflection and reform,” Neuer added.

Others to join the executive board are Australia, Barbados, Cameroon, Comoros, Lesotho, Qatar, Switzerland, Togo and Ukraine.

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