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2017-11-13 17:57
By Lee Sun-ho



U.S. President Donald Trump’s full remarks to the Korean National Assembly in Seoul on Nov. 8 grabbed attention within and outside Korea.

Trump’s speech illustrated the historical and ideological aspects on the divided Korean Peninsula.  His remarks refrained from going beyond the edge, and that was appreciated by listeners in Korea.

He candidly explained the brutal, dictatorial political suppression of the North vis-a-vis the rapid economic growth of the South.

Trump told Korean lawmakers, “I hope I speak not only for our countries, but for all civilized nations, when I say to the North: Do not underestimate us. And do not try us. We will defend our common security, our shared prosperity, and our sacred liberty.” He urged Pyongyang’s Kim Jong-un to “come to the table and make a deal” instead of provocative actions.

Trump avoided the usual fiery rhetoric and name-calling when speaking about North Korea. But he still highlighted the negative sides of life in North Korea, saying “the country has committed crimes against God and man.” The animosity between the North and the United States seems to have reached new heights in the Trump era. Pyongyang has refused to relinquish its pursuits of a nuclear weapon capable of reaching the mainland U.S.

Turning to the flourishing South Korea, Trump spoke about the 1950-53 Korean War by narrating Operation Chromite at Incheon and Pork Chop Hill over Mt. Cheondeok at Yeoncheon and the Korea-U.S. alliance forged in blood. “South Korea climbed from total devastation to among the wealthiest nations on Earth,” Trump said. “Korea marvelously achieved its exceptional world records in many industrial, architectural, fine arts and sports fields, following the miracle of the Han River.” 

It was interesting that he mentioned Korean players’ exceptional performance at the U.S. Women’s Open at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, which was won by Park Sung-hyun.

Many Koreans will remember Trump’s highly-polished address which focused on peace on the Korean Peninsula.


Lee Sun-ho (kexim2@unitel.co.kr) is an ombudsman columnist for The Korea Times in Seoul. 


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