Donald Trump won't go to DMZ during South Korea visit: White House

Donald Trump giving out Halloween treats to children at the South Portico of the White House, Oct 30, 2017.
Donald Trump giving out Halloween treats to children at the South Portico of the White House, Oct 30, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Donald Trump will not be going to the De-Militarised Zone dividing the Korean peninsula when he visits South Korea next week, a senior administration official said Tuesday (Oct 31).

The decision to skip the DMZ at a time of high tensions with nuclear-armed North Korea was attributed to time constraints.

“The President is not going to visit the DMZ, there is not enough time in the schedule,” the official said.

Trump, who departs on Friday on a five-nation Asian tour with world attention on North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes, will instead visit Camp Humphreys, which is south of Seoul and away from the DMZ, the official said.

The DMZ, a razor’s edge separating North and South Korean forces, is a common stop for visiting presidents and other high-level US officials wanting to see one of the world’s most dangerous flashpoints.

But the senior administration official downplayed the decision not to go.

“We just had Secretary Mattis there last week, we had Vice-President Pence there earlier this year,” the official said, referring to Pentagon chief Jim Mattis and Trump’s number two, Mike Pence.

“It’s becoming a little bit of a cliche, frankly.”