NATIONAL

Rallies welcoming, protesting Trump held in central Seoul

By Ock Hyun-ju
  • Published : Jun 30, 2019 - 15:37
  • Updated : Jun 30, 2019 - 17:57

Civic groups continued to hold rallies opposing and welcoming US President Donald Trump’s visit to Seoul on Sunday as Trump held a summit with President Moon Jae-in and met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the Demilitarized Zone.

Trump arrived in Seoul on Saturday after attending the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan. On Sunday, Trump held bilateral talks with Moon at the presidential office and met with Kim at the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone dividing the Koreas.

Police maintained the highest level of security in Seoul, partially restricting traffic and installing fences at major spots along Trump’s travel route.

While anti-Trump protesters demanded an end to the Korean War and the US-led sanctions against North Korea, pro-US groups welcomed Trump’s visit and called for a stronger alliance between South Korea and the US. 

Members of the progressive civic group Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea hold a press conference in front of the Sejong Center of the Performing Arts, protesting US President Donald Trump’s visit to Seoul on Sunday. (Yonhap)

Progressive civic groups held press conferences, protesting Trump’s visit and pinning blame on the US for the standoff in denuclearization talks between Washington and Pyongyang.

“If the US abolishes its hostile policy toward North Korea and guarantees the North’s regime security, denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula can be realized promptly and completely,” progressive civic group Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea said at a press conference in front of the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts.

Members of the Korean Veterans Association hold a rally near Cheonggyecheon to welcome US President Donald Trump’s visit to Seoul, Sunday. (Yonhap)

The pro-US activists were mostly senior citizens, with many of them war veterans, retired military personnel and supporters of imprisoned former President Park Geun-hye.

During a rally led by the minor right-wing Our Republican Party, participants held placards reading, “Thank you, USA,” and waved the national flags of South Korea and the US near Seoul Plaza. They also called for the immediate release of Park.

During the 1950-53 Korean War, the US fought alongside South Korea under the United Nations flag against the communist North Korea, which was backed by China and the Soviet Union. More than 36,000 US troops were killed in the war.

(laeticia.ock@heraldcorp.com)