Donald Trump’s unconventional approach to politics has “gripped the imagination” of people around the world, but the UK was helping to “mitigate” the approach taken by his White House, Boris Johnson said.
The Foreign Secretary praised the US President’s use of Twitter, which has “engaged people in politics” but acknowledged that the UK does not agree with everything Washington says.
North Korea’s missile tests have seen Mr Trump respond with a series of messages putting pressure on China to act and Mr Johnson also called for Beijing to do more to tackle Kim Jong-Un’s regime.
Defending the US President’s style, Mr Johnson told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think actually that Donald Trump’s approach to politics has been something that has gripped the imagination of people around the world, it has engaged people in politics in a way that we haven’t seen for a long time with his tweets and all the rest of it.
“Certainly I wouldn’t be allowed to tweet in the way that he has, much as I might like to.”
He joked that his Foreign Office “minder” was “looking extremely apprehensive here”.
But he insisted that the UK was prepared to stand up to Mr Trump where it disagreed with him.
North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life? Hard to believe that South Korea.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 4, 2017
....and Japan will put up with this much longer. Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 4, 2017
“I do think that he raises people’s awareness of issues, he engages in a very direct way. We in the UK do not agree, by any means, with everything that Washington currently says,” he said.
“Our role, as the UK is to represent our own point of view, whether it is on Nato, the vital importance of Article 5 of Nato, whether it’s on climate change, whether it’s on the Iran nuclear accord – it’s the UK that is actually helping, we think, to mitigate, to get some of those American attitudes and policies that are currently coming out of the White House into a better place.
“I think, if you look at the last 12 months or so, I think there’s been a great deal of progress.”
Mr Johnson said the North Korean missile launch was “reckless”, “indefensible” and “illegal”.
“The single most important thing is for the country with the most direct economic relationship with North Korea – that is China – has got to continue to put on the pressure,” he said.