Blue is for diplomacy: South Korea's cheerful First Lady gets the blues at Moon-Trump summit

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump welcoming South Korean President Moon Jae In and his wife, Kim Jung Sook at the South Portico of the White House in Washington, on June 29, 2017.
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump welcoming South Korean President Moon Jae In and his wife, Kim Jung Sook at the South Portico of the White House in Washington, on June 29, 2017. PHOTO: THE NEW YORK TIMES
US First Lady Melania Trump, from right, US President Donald Trump, Moon Jae In, South Korea's president, and his wife Kim Jung Sook stand for photographers at the South Portico of the White House in Washington, DC, US on June 29, 2017.
US First Lady Melania Trump, from right, US President Donald Trump, Moon Jae In, South Korea's president, and his wife Kim Jung Sook stand for photographers at the South Portico of the White House in Washington, DC, US on June 29, 2017. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG
South Korean First Lady Kim Jung Sook (centre, right) speaks to US First Lady Melania Trump (centre, left) after a dinner at the White House in Washington, DC, US, on June 29, 2017.
South Korean First Lady Kim Jung Sook (centre, right) speaks to US First Lady Melania Trump (centre, left) after a dinner at the White House in Washington, DC, US, on June 29, 2017. PHOTO: EPA

SEOUL - South Korean First Lady Kim Jung Sook picked blue as her main wardrobe colour during her husband's first summit with United States President Donald Trump, the presidential Blue House said, as the colour represents "hope, success, trust and a new beginning".

“Blue conveys hope of a successful first summit based on mutual trust,” according to a media statement issued by the Blue House.

President Moon Jae In's four-day visit to the US this week is his first foray abroad since his election in early May. It comes amid heightened tensions due to North Korea’s rampant missile tests and controversy over the deployment of a US anti-missile shield.

Mrs Moon, who has been nicknamed “Cheerful Lady Jung Sook” by fans for her jovial personality and hearty laughter, stepped off the plane in Washington on Wednesday (June 28) in an elegant white silk dress with a matching long jacket featuring a blue painting of a pine forest.

The painting is the work of a Korean artist, said the Blue House, adding that the outfit “drew a lot of interest in the US”.

Another outfit that stood out was a light blue hanbok which Mrs Moon, 62, wore to dinner with her husband at the White House, hosted by Mr Trump and his wife. The traditional Korean dress is made using cloth she received from her late mother when she got married in 1981, said the Blue House.


South Korean President Moon Jae In (left) and his wife, Kim Jung Sook, wave after arriving at Joint Base Andrews in Washington, DC, US, June 28, 2017. Moon is in the United States on a four-day visit. PHOTO: EPA

 

Mrs Moon’s mother ran a hanbok fabric store in a traditional market in central Seoul for decades. It was closed due to a decline in popularity of the hanbok, but Mrs Moon hopes the industry can be revitalised, and that more people will wear the hanbok on a daily basis.

The First Lady also came up with the idea to custom-make shoes modelled after the beoseon, or hanbok socks that curl slightly at the toes.

She wore a pair of white beoseon shoes with her hanbok, and a black pair with a long white jacket over black pants, which she donned departing Seoul.

“Traditional meets modern” is the overall theme of Mrs Moon’s wardrobe, said the Blue House, adding that she has good aesthetic sense and hopes to use fashion to convey diplomacy.

Political observers had voiced concern over friction during the summit, as South Korea and the US differ in their approach towards the North - Seoul has been pushing for engagement, while Washington places denuclearisation above dialogue.

But it was all smiles when the two leaders met over dinner at the White House Thursday night. Mr Trump, in a Twitter message, said he had a “very good meeting” with Mr Moon, and they discussed many subjects including North Korea and a new trade deal.

They will hold a summit Friday morning, Washington time.