Proposed Trump DMZ Visit Called 'Dangerous Idea'

Move could provoke North, analysts say
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 11, 2017 12:05 AM CDT
Proposed Trump DMZ Visit Called 'Dangerous Idea'
A North Korean soldier stands in the rain while looking through the window of the UN truce village building that sits on the border of the Demilitarized Zone.   (AP Photo/Mark Wilson, pool)

In what analysts are calling a dangerous idea, President Trump might come within yards of North Korean soldiers with a visit to the demilitarized zone on his trip to South Korea next month. A defense source told Yonhap Tuesday that Trump wants to send a strong message to Pyongyang and the DMZ—which separates North and South and is extremely heavily militarized—is among the sites that US officials planning Trump's itinerary visited last month, Reuters reports. The source said the American team was looking for a site for Trump's "special activity." Barack Obama visited the DMZ in 2012, and Mike Pence declared an end to the "era of strategic patience" when he was there in April of this year.

Analysts say that with tensions so high, visiting the DMZ could be seen by Pyongyang as an unacceptable provocation—though it will appeal to Trump's "appetite for theatrics." "The image of him narrowing his eyes to stare across the DMZ. It is tweeting by another means," Bong Youngshik of Yonsei University in Seoul tells Bloomberg. "Mr. Trump may also think that if it provokes Pyongyang, all the better." Japan and South Korea, meanwhile, joined the US in a show of aerial strength over the Korean Peninsula Wednesday, the Guardian reports. Fighters from the two countries accompanied American B-1B bombers as they carried out air-to-ground missile drills. (Jimmy Carter has offered to talk to Kim Jong Un.)

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