Donald Trump on possible war between Japan and nuclear-armed North Korea: 'If they do, they do'
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump listens to a question during a town hall on Feb. 18, 2016. (CNN)

Speaking at a rally in Rothschild, Wisconsin ahead of the state’s primary on Tuesday, the Republican presidential frontrunner said that if conflict between Japan and nuclear-armed North Korea were to break out, “it would be a terrible thing but if they do, they do”.

“Good luck,” he added. “Enjoy yourself, folks.”

Referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, Trump also complained that the US had 28,000 troops on the armistice line between North Korea and South Korea “to stop a maniac”.

“What we do we get out of it?” he asked. “What we do get out of it? It’s time that other people stopped looking at us as stupid, stupid people.”

US troops are deployed in South Korea to support the United Nations , which enforces the armistice that ended the Korean War in 1953 .

The two countries are still technically at war; North Korea repeatedly engages in belligerent activity. In the recent past it has sunk a South Korean ship and bombarded South Korean territory .

This week, as President Obama chaired a multi-nation nuclear security summit in Washington, Pyongyang carried out the latest of a number of ballistic missile tests . Last week, North Korea released a propaganda film that showed the US capital under nuclear attack .

According to Trump: “Frankly, the case could be made to let [Japan] protect themselves against North Korea, they’d probably wipe them out pretty quick.”

Japan is constitutionally prohibited from having an army.

Aince he emerged as the favourite to win the Republican presidential nomination, Trump’s foreign policy credentials have come under scrutiny . He has unveiled a team of advisers , although he has been dogged by a remark to MSNBC in which he said that on foreign matters “I’m speaking with myself, No1, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things”.

Related: On patrol in the DMZ: North Korean landmines, biting winds and tin cans

Last week, Secretary of State John Kerry said the Republican presidential campaign and its foreign policy flashpoints had become an “ embarrassment ” to the US abroad.

Trump previously suggested in a televised interview with CNN that South Korea and Japan should have their own nuclear weapons , in contradiction of more than half a century of American foreign policy. The Republican frontrunner said of that policy: “Maybe it’s going to have to be time to change.”

At a campaign event in Wisconsin earlier on Saturday, Trump also echoed previous utterances when he said “it’d be fine”” if Nato were to break up. © Guardian News and Media 2016