NATIONAL

Cheong Wa Dae prepares for state visit by Trump

By Choi He-suk
  • Published : Nov 6, 2017 - 18:39
  • Updated : Nov 6, 2017 - 18:39
President Moon Jae-in will hold summit talks with US President Donald Trump in Seoul on Tuesday, with the focus again on North Korea and bilateral trade issues.

This will be their third bilateral summit. The first was held in June in Washington and the second on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Germany in July.

On a tight schedule, about 24 hours spread from Tuesday to Wednesday, Trump’s state visit will follow a tight itinerary with two summit meetings -- a one-on-one and another expanded -- and a welcome gala packed into the first day. On the following day, Trump will address the National Assembly and pay respects at the National Cemetery in Seoul before flying to China. 

(Yonhap)

With sensitive issues outstanding, Cheong Wa Dae is taking extra precautions to make the visit go without a hitch.

Cheong Wa Dae officials on Monday rehearsed for events scheduled to be held at the presidential office, while Moon focused on preparing for the meeting and an upcoming tour of Southeast Asian nations.

Cheong Wa Dae also issued a statement Sunday asking for the public’s cooperation.

“Welcoming a guest is our tradition that has been passed down through generations,” Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Park Soo-hyun said Sunday.

Saying that the visit would be an opportunity to “confirm that Korea and the US are steadfast allies,” Park called on the public to give the US president a “warm welcome.”

“The government will do its best to obtain results that will raise the people’s lives and safety, and the Korean Peninsula’s peace and prosperity another step.”

Park’s statement is said to reflect concerns about the planned demonstrations against the US leader. A coalition of some 220 nongovernmental organizations have banded together in protesting Trump’s visit, designating Tuesday “No Trump Day.”

Regardless of opposition from some quarters, Trump’s visit comes at a critical time, and marks the first state visit by a US leader since President George H.W. Bush in 1992.

Although on a short stay -- the shortest among South Korea, China and Japan -- Trump will be afforded the highest honors, following the protocols of a state visit.

Visits by foreign leaders are divided into a number of categories, including state, official and working visits, with each following different protocols.

A state visit is initiated upon a formal invitation by the head of state, with the host country covering the costs of the visit.

Unlike other forms of visits, the visiting foreign leader is greeted by a delegation of high-level officials upon arrival, and a 21-gun salute is fired in honor of the visitor. Trump will be greeted by Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Kyung-wha and Cho Yoon-je, the recently appointed ambassador to the US.

Trump will kick off the visit at Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, then hold the summit meetings, followed by a gala dinner at Cheong Wa Dae.

The event will be attended by key officials from the two sides including National Assembly Speaker Rep. Chung Se-kyun, Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon and 20 government and military officials. Along with political and government officials, a number of members of the corporate community, culture figures and Korean and US citizens who have contributed to bilateral relations will also be invited.

US officials attending the event will include chief of staff John Kelly, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and national security adviser H.R. McMaster.

Ahead of Trump’s arrival, local police have gone into emergency mode, with an anti-terrorism stance being raised in some areas of Seoul.

Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency will be put on the highest alert for the duration of Trump’s stay, while the agencies of Incheon and Gyeonggi Province will go into emergency operations.

Cheong Wa Dae will limit access to the road running in front of the presidential office from the early hours of Tuesday, while public access to the National Assembly will be restricted Wednesday. Security measures around the National Assembly will also see thousands of officers deployed to the area.

By Choi He-suk (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)