Love him or hate him, U.S. President Donald Trump has just landed in Seoul. With a mix of pro/anti-Trump groups expected to ruffle a few feathers today in downtown Seoul, the presidential Blue House, political parties and organizations alike have expressed their stance on the POTUS’ state visit.
Here is a selection of translated excerpts from some of the major parties:
Presidential Blue House
“By honoring President Trump with a warm welcome on the occasion of his state visit, the Korean government wants to elevate the relationship between Korea and the United States from a ‘comprehensive alliance’ to a ‘great alliance.’
Cordially receiving guests is a Korean tradition that runs back through generations. Through this [visit], we can reaffirm that the U.S. and R.O.K are the staunchest of allies. We ask you all to please warmly welcome President Trump.
Through President Trump’s state visit, the government will do its utmost to ensure that the lives and safety of the Korean people as well as the peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula are advanced one step further. We would like to ask you for your support and trust in our government.”
The Minjoo Party [Democratic Party of Korea]
Center-left (ruling party)
“President Trump’s visit reaffirms the solid history of the R.O.K-U.S. alliance. It serves as a means to overcome the crisis on the Korean Peninsula and promise the common prosperity of our two countries.
We urge the [Korean] people to warmly welcome President Donald Trump.”
Liberty Korea Party
Right (main opposition party)
“President Trump’s state visit is a great turning point in resolving the North Korean nuclear issue and a diplomatic event that will determine the fate of the Korean Peninsula in the future. As a matter of crucial diplomacy and security, we will strive our utmost for bipartisan cooperation.
Chairman of the Korea Liberty Party Hong Joon-pyo said, ‘There are no “two sides” when it comes to security. I will refrain from attacking or criticizing President Moon Jae-in during President Trump’s state visit.’
With the North Korean nuclear crisis at its peak, we hope the Korean government will lead the summit meeting between Korea and the U.S. to protect national security and interests.”
Over 100 Trump-related rallies have been reported to the police in Seoul alone, both in favor and against him. Here are the statements from two prominent protesters on opposing sides of the fence:
Association of Korean Patriots
Rightwing civic organization
“We appreciate and wholeheartedly support all diplomatic and military efforts of the U.S. to remove nuclear weapons of North Korea.
We love peace. Yet, we do not have blind faith in peace. We refuse to live in false peace. Authentic peace only comes with denuclearization. No matter how many victims may exist, we would rather live in a country free from nuclear threats.
In the long run, we must work together to bring a free democracy and free market system to North Korea.
The alliance and friendship between the U.S. and ROK has to be strengthened. We are grateful for the existence of U.S. military forces to keep the peace of this region. God bless America and Korea!”
Korean Confederation of Trade Unions
Leftwing labor association
“At his UN General Assembly speech, he made an unwarranted statement of war, saying that North Korea would face ‘“fire and fury.’
As soon as he became president, he talked about renegotiating the Korea-U.S. FTA, threatening to unilaterally revise it in the field of manufacturing. And recently, he has asked Korea to increase its share in defense spending.
We oppose Trump’s visit. We also oppose and denounce the Moon Jae-in government for welcoming Trump.
Moon Jae-in’s attitude toward the U.S. is unfortunately not so different from the previous regime.
Trump’s visit will only deepen the deterioration of the situation around the Korean Peninsula and deepen the war crisis, further deepening the subordinate R.O.K.-U.S. alliance.”
Cover image: Trump supporters at a rally in Seoul. (Raphael Rashid/Korea Exposé)