SEOUL, South Korea — Several months ago, South Koreans considered President Trump as dangerous as North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, as the two traded threats of nuclear annihilation.
Now, commentators and others in Seoul think Mr. Trump deserves a Nobel Prize for helping start the unexpected peace process unfolding on the divided Korean Peninsula. On Monday, South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in, said he felt the same.
Mr. Moon’s endorsement of a Nobel for Mr. Trump, who has faced one ethical scandal after another at home, came as the South Korean leader presided over a meeting of his senior presidential staff on Monday. During the meeting, Mr. Moon received a telegram from Lee Hee-ho, a former first lady of South Korea, congratulating him for a successful summit meeting with Mr. Kim on Friday and wishing him a Nobel Peace Prize.
“It’s really President Trump who should receive it; we can just take peace,” Mr. Moon was quoted by his office as saying.
In recent months, Mr. Moon and his senior aides have repeatedly thanked Mr. Trump for making a rapprochement between the Koreas possible. Mr. Trump’s “maximum pressure” approach of tightening the noose around the North with economic sanctions and military threats was largely responsible for forcing Mr. Kim to the negotiating table, they said.
If they were genuinely grateful to Mr. Trump, they were also seen as stoking the ego of the impulsive American leader so that he would continue to support South Korea’s efforts to resolve the North Korean crisis through dialogue.
On Monday, Mr. Trump mentioned in a tweet the possibility of meeting Mr. Kim at the border between North and South Korea, where Friday’s meeting between Mr. Kim and Mr. Moon was held.
Mr. Trump has also been eager to take credit for Mr. Kim’s shift in behavior as the inter-Korean summit has fanned speculation that he could receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
When Mr. Trump held a rally in Michigan on Saturday, his fans chanted “Nobel, Nobel, Nobel!”
“That’s very nice, thank you. That’s very nice,” a visibly flattered Mr. Trump said in response. “I just want to get the job done.”
Senator Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally who is sometimes critical of the president, said that if Mr. Trump “can lead us to ending the Korean War” while “getting North Korea to give up their nuclear program” in a verifiable way, then he “deserves the Nobel Peace Prize and then some.”
But some were skeptical about