“The President is not going to visit the DMZ,” the official said, explaining that “there is not enough time in the schedule” and that visiting the DMZ has become “a little bit of a cliché.”
The official said the White House had to pick between a visit to the DMZ or a visit to Camp Humphreys, a joint US-South Korean military base, which South Korean President Moon Jae-in invited Trump to visit.
The official said the White House felt Camp Humphreys “would make more sense in terms of the President’s message” by drawing attention to “South Korea’s role in sharing the burden of supporting this critical alliance.”
Last week, an official had said “we don’t think it sends any message either way.”
Trump has employed increasingly volatile rhetoric in his comments about North Korea, promising to rain “fire and fury” on the regime if it continued threatening the United States. Since then, the North has conducted a mbadive underground nuclear test and launched several ballistic missiles.
While some members of Trump’s administration have advocated talks with the North Koreans, Trump has downplayed the potential for effective diplomacy. He and his advisers have warned that no options — including military ones — are off the table.
The official speaking Tuesday noted that Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis have all visited the DMZ and concluded: “It’s becoming a little bit of a cliché, frankly.”