- Reuters/Jo Yong-Hak
- Trump is visiting South Korea in November, and his aides are worried. Some fear Trump may say something escalatory. Some fear Trump would be in danger standing so close to armed North Koreans.
Ahead of President Donald Trump’s planned trip to South Korea in November, advisers on both sides are debating if Trump should head to North Korea’s border, where some fear he could escalate the crisis or even come into personal danger.
South Korean officials fear that Trump could again say something inflammatory to increase tensions with North Korea, but other advisers worry about Trump’s personal safety, according to the Washington Post.
The demilitarized zone between South and North Korea, despite its name, features landmines and heavy security presences from both countries. North Korea has armed guards on duty around the clock, and Trump would come face to face with them should he visit the border.
Every president except for George W. Bush has visited the DMZ since Ronald Reagan. Usually the president wears some type of bomber or leather jacket. Trump’s vice president, Mike Pence, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have both visited.
- Wikimedia Commons
But no president has ever taken such a vocally hostile line towards North Korea as Trump has. Trump has threatened to “totally destroy” the country with “fire and fury,” far more colorful statements than any of his predecessors dared.
According to Daniel Russel, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs under President Barack Obama, Trump’s heated rhetoric could take on a new meaning in the DMZ.
“The DMZ functions as a kind of amplifier,” Russel told the Washington Post. “The message takes on a more martial and ominous tone when it comes out of a military command post on North Korea’s doorstep.”