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President Trump May Visit Korean DMZ on Asia Trip

President Donald Trump speaks with reporters in the Rose Garden of the White House, in Washington, Oct. 16, 2017.
President Donald Trump speaks with reporters in the Rose Garden of the White House, in Washington, Oct. 16, 2017.
President Trump May Visit Korean DMZ on Asia Trip
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United States President Donald Trump is traveling to five Asian countries early next month.

Trump told reporters on Monday he is considering a visit to the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) during the trip.

The DMZ is the narrow piece of land that separates North and South Korea. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence visited the DMZ in April.

Christopher Hill is a former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea and assistant secretary of state.

Hill told VOA that “every American president has visited the DMZ, and President Trump should, too.” Hill noted that the timing of a presidential visit to the DMZ is something to be considered.

Ned Price worked for the U.S. National Security Council and served as an assistant to then-President Barack Obama. Price agrees with Hill’s reaction to the idea of a presidential visit. He said, “The North Koreans would interpret any visit as provocative.

Price told VOA that what the president says or does while at the DMZ “would determine just how the North Koreans react. Any blustery language -- such as what we’ve seen in recent weeks -- would be hugely detrimental to the cause of a diplomatic de-escalation.”

During his trip, Trump will try to increase pressure against North Korea's nuclear weapons development program. He will also work to strengthen American economic interests in East Asia.

Trump has helped to build support at the United Nations for international economic sanctions against North Korea. Those measures are designed to limit the amount of money North Korea earns from exports. The North uses that money to finance its nuclear weapons program. But the country has been able to continue nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

Trump is likely talk about the tests in his talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Jack Keane is a retired U.S. Army general and once served as the army’s vice chief of staff. He has close ties to the Trump administration.

Keane warned North Korea against adding nuclear weapons to its intercontinental ballistic missiles at the United States and its territories. If North Korea does “nuclearize” its missiles, he noted, Trump will consider the decision “an act of war” by the North.

He added, “We can say that war on the peninsula is not realistic,” but if (North Korean leader) Kim Jong Un is going to bring it to that point, that is what is going to exactly happen.”

The Trump administration said Monday that the president’s trip is set to begin on November 3 and end on November 14. It will include stops in Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. Trump is to meet with the heads of state of each country.

VOA White House Correspondent Steve Herman reported this story. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted his report for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

interpret – v. to understand (something) in a specified way

provocative – adj. causing discussion, thought, argument, etc.

blustery – adj. blowing loudly and violently (often used figuratively)

detrimental – adj. causing damage or injury

de-escalation – v. to stop from becoming worse or to stop from making (something) worse or more severe

pre-emptive – adj. done to stop an unwanted act by another group, country, etc., from happening