White House Appears to Confuse North and South Korea

 
 
The White House was caught off guard and by surprise Tuesday when the official North Korean state news agency announced that talks scheduled for next month between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un would be canceled if the U.S. did not pull out of military exercises with South Korea.

President Trump for months has been praising the North Korean dictator after  he proposed a face-to-face meeting with the U.S. president. Not only has Trump been praising him, he literally acted as Kim's Minister of Propaganda, tweeting out remarks the 34-year old Supreme Leader of North Korea had made.

But Tuesday's announcement threw the White House for a loop.

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a quick statement in response.

"We are aware of the South Korean media report," Huckabee Sanders said. "The United States will look at what North Korea has said independently, and continue to coordinate closely with our allies."

The problem, as CNN Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto and others noted, is that the report came from North Korea, not South Korea.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) is the official state media outlet for North Korea. Yonhap is South Korea's news agency.

Later, an English language version was released by KCNA.

It reads, in part, that South Korea and the U.S. are "reacting to all the peace-loving efforts and good intentions which DPRK has shown with rude and wicked provocation."

Sciutto also makes this observation:

As one political writer noted, Kim is playing Trump "like a fiddle."

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