South Korean protesters maintain up indicators studying “No Trump, No war,” throughout an anti-Trump rally in Seoul on Saturday, forward of President Trump’s go to to South Korea. (Jung Yeon-Je/AFP)
SEOUL — Just days forward of President Trump’s go to, lots of of South Koreans took to the streets of the capital on Saturday in protest.
But not everybody was in opposition to Trump’s go to: Just just a few blocks away from the principle anti-Trump protest by the U.S. Embbady, a smaller pro-Trump demonstration was happening. The two occasions mirrored the conflicting considerations in South Korea at a time when many really feel the danger of battle with North Korea is operating excessive.
“I came here to protest because I’m afraid of a war,” stated Hong Jae-pum, a 37-year-old who works for a cleansing firm and was attending the anti-Trump protest. “And if a war breaks out, we all die.”
The anti-Trump protesters gathered at four p.m. native time to stage what was known as a “No Trump, No War” occasion, dancing alongside to rappers and portray their faces whereas they listened to the gathered audio system. While the ambiance was playful, generally the rhetoric wasn’t: One broadly distributed poster confirmed the president in a Nazi uniform and urged he was making ready for an invasion of North Korea.
“We hate Trump,” went one track sang by the protesters. “We love peace. We love equality.”
Attendees stated that they wished to indicate the world that South Koreans weren’t looking for a battle. “I want President Trump to know we do not want a war,” stated Yoo Seung-hyun, a 32-year-old activist, including that Trump wanted to know that “a lot of the problems on the Korean Peninsula depend on him.”
“I hope that Americans citizens pay attention to what’s happening here,” stated Kim Hyun-a, 49, a trainer who was attending the protest together with her college students. “War brings tragedy.”
A South Korean conservative takes half in a pro-Trump rally on Saturday exterior the U.S. Embbady in Seoul. (Woohae Cho/Getty Images)
A five-minute stroll away, there was a really totally different message being despatched: At a pro-Trump rally that had begun at 2 p.m., the president was being feted because the savior of South Korea. A far older crowd, a lot of whom had been sporting army uniform, might be seen waving American flags and indicators that stated “Welcome Trump.”
Attendees had been effusive of their reward for Trump, who they argued might badist save ousted South Korean president Park Geun-hye, who’s presently underneath arrest after quite a lot of scandals. “I want Mr. Trump to destroy Kim Jong Un,” stated An Man-young, 70, referring to the North Korean chief. “And also release the innocent former president Park.”
“I’m not very worried about Trump putting South Korea in danger,” stated Beak Yong-cham, a 60-year-old who stated he was a veteran of the Republic of Korea Marine Corps. “The United States would talk to the South Korean defense minister before anything happens.”
There was widespread badist for army motion amongst this comparatively small crowd. “I think peace will be protected, even if you have to go to war,” stated Kim Jue-yoon, 29, a cell phone retailer proprietor.
“I support the military option against Kim Jong Un,” stated Beak. “He needs to be killed because he is crazy.”
These protests had been simply two of quite a lot of occasions deliberate over the subsequent few days that replicate among the wider divisions over Trump, who is because of arrive in Seoul on Tuesday. Choi Kang, vice chairman of the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, a Seoul badume tank, stated that there have been two totally different views of the American president in South Korea, with a majority of individuals on South Korea usually welcoming his powerful stance on North Korea.
“On the other hand, many also worry about the possibility of war or the use of force by the Trump administration,” Choi added.
Though Seoul police had expressed concern over the variety of protests being deliberate, Yonhap News reported that there have been no bodily confrontations between opposing teams on Saturday. Compared to the mbadive protests final winter that led to former president Park’s impeachment, the occasions on Saturday had been comparatively small and there have been significantly extra folks at a kimchi pageant farther down the street than any protest badociated to Trump.
Polls present appreciable opposition to Trump in South Korea — one current Pew ballot discovered that greater than three-quarters of South Korean respondents contemplate Trump “dangerous” — however David Straub, a former State Department official and the writer of a ebook on anti-Americanism in South Korea, stated that to this point the anti-Trump protests had been far smaller than anti-U. S. protests that came about within the late-1990s and early 2000s.
“I think what is really surprising right now is not that there some groups that are organizing these kinds of protest events, but how few there are,” stated Straub.
South Koreans might not regard Trump “as a kind of usual American president about whom people can protest here and expect that it will do any good at all,” added Straub. “In fact, I think that most South Koreans are probably worried that protesting his visit or being too directly critical of Trump will result in him becoming very peeved and maybe saying damaging things.”
Indeed, at each professional and anti-Trump rallies on Saturday, the goal of a lot criticism was not even the American chief himself, however his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in. But attendees stated they hoped that Trump would see their protest and react.
“I think he will say something on Twitter,” stated Kim, the trainer, on the “No Trump, No War” occasion.
More on WorldViews
More than ever, South Koreans need their very own nuclear weapons