How One Question From Donald Trump Gave South Korea’s President a Rare Opportunity
President Donald J. Trump and President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea participate in joint statements on Friday, June 30, 2017, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)
United States President Donald Trump reportedly posed a question rarely publicly addressed to South Korean president Moon Jae-in during the POTUS’ Asia trip last week.
According to The Washington Post, the two leaders were drinking tea when Trump asked Moon, “Do you have to reunify?”
Moon would later recount the conversation with Democratic Party leader Choo Mi-ae, who then retold it to the media.
“This could have been asked by anybody, but people who come to South Korea almost never ask it,” Choo was quoted as saying. “The fact that he posed this question, frankly speaking, gave us the opportunity to explain the need for reunification.”
Choo revealed that Moon believed Trump was candid in asking his question so he replied by explaining how important it was to bring democracy to North Korea to aid its suffering population.
According to the UN, 2016 figures indicate that 40% of North Koreans are undernourished, while over 70% of the country’s population relies on food aid. Meanwhile, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s focus has remained primarily on financing its internationally denounced missile program.
Trump followed up with another question: “Then, what can I do for Korea?”
Moon’s response referred to the high tensions related to the North Korean nuclear crisis complicating the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Trump then replied that he would personally promote the event.
Similarly observed by several foreign diplomats, Trump has reportedly been highly inquisitive and eager to learn during his meetings with foreign leaders. While unusual by presidential standards, Trump’s questions are viewed by some as an indication that he appears to be inclined to get pointers from his fellow leaders. Although, of course, it may also be indicative of other things.
Hopefully, Trump, at least, did pick up in the brief history lesson Moon had given him.
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