During his trip to South Korea last week, President Donald Trump reportedly asked an unusual question to South Korean president Moon Jae-in as they drank tea.
“Do you have to reunify?” Trump asked Moon, Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin reported Nov. 15.
The next day, Moon reportedly told the story of the conversation to Choo Mi-ae, the leader of South Korea’s ruling Democratic Party, who then recounted the story to The Post.
“This could have been asked by anybody, but people who come to South Korea almost never ask it,” Mi-ae told The Post. “The fact that he posed this question, frankly speaking, gave us the opportunity to explain the need for reunification.”
According to Choo, Moon viewed Trump’s question as an honest and unscripted query, and answered it by explaining the necessity of bringing democracy to those suffering in the North Korea.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been known to overlook the country’s humanitarian crisis, and frequently diverts the country’s funds to finance its controversial missile program. A UN report released earlier this year estimated that two in five North Koreans are undernourished, and over 70% of the people rely on food aid, according to data compiled for 2016.
After hearing the explanation, Trump reportedly asked another question: “Then, what can I do for Korea?”
Moon answered Trump by hinting at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, which has been overshadowed by North Korean provocations. Trump replied by saying that he would personally try to promote the event, The Post reported.
Despite stressing the US’s unequal footing in trade relations with South Korea, Trump delivered a scripted speech before the National Assembly, where he praised the accomplishments of the country.
“What South Koreans have achieved on this peninsula is more than a victory for your nation,” Trump said in his speech. “It is a victory for every nation that believes in the human spirit.”