Majority of Americans say US President Donald Trump escalating tensions with North Korea: Poll

August 25, 2017 9:30 pm

A cardboard cutout of President is shown during a protest against escalating threats of military action in August 10, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)

A majority of Americans think US President Donald Trump is escalating tensions with North Korea and believe his tough rhetoric won’t help resolve the situation, a new poll has found.
A total of 53 percent of registered US voters disapprove of how Trump is handling the conflict with North Korea, according to a Harvard-Harris survey, released Friday.
“The public is united that they do not want North Korea to obtain nuclear weapons and believe they would use them, but at the same time is fearful of military strikes against the regime,” said Harvard-Harris co-director Mark Penn.
He added, “Ideally they want North Korea contained with sanctions and by getting the help of China. They are on the fence about the president’s handling of the situation but it’s ultimately what kind of results he gets that will determine his public support on the issue.”
In addition, 56 percent said Trump’s “fire and fury” rhetoric has been unhelpful and extreme. 
Last week, the Trump administration announced new sanctions on Chinese businesses claiming they act as a pipeline to support alleged illicit financial activity by North Korea. It has also been pressuring China to use its influence over Pyongyang and stop the unruly neighbor’s development of nuclear and ballistic deterrents.
“North Korea best not make any more threats to ,” Trump said from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey earlier this month. “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
The remarks came amid reports that Pyongyang has successfully tested a Hwasong-14 missile, which American officials claimed was capable of hitting targets in “most of the US.”
Nevertheless, voters are eager to avoid conflict with North Korea.
According to the poll, sixty-two percent said the US should go on with its policy of strategic patience as compared to 38 percent who said the country should take a more active role. Meanwhile, fifty-four percent approved of the way former President Barack Obama handled North Korea’s nuclear threat.
A strong majority of voters supported the recent sanctions which were passed by the United Nations (UN). The poll also revealed support for imposing economic and trade pressure on China toward that effort, while most people opposed using military force such as air strikes or blockades.
Earlier in the month, the UNSC voted unanimously in favor of a sanction package that is expected to slash Pyongyang’s annual revenue by around $1 billion, or one-third. The measure blocks all exports of coal, iron and iron ore, lead and lead ore, as well as fish and seafood from the North.
The Harvard-Harris Poll was conducted online among 2,263 registered voters from August 17-22.
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