Biden mulls DMZ trip during upcoming S.Korea visit: Sources

by IANS |

Seoul, May 17 (IANS) US President Joe Biden is considering a trip to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas when he visits Seoul later this week, as consultations are ongoing on his specific itinerary, informed sources said on Tuesday.

Biden is set to arrive in Seoul on Friday, the eve of his first summit with his newly-elected South Korean counterpart Yoon Suk-yeol, reports Yonhap News agency.

The DMZ, the heavily fortified inter-Korean border, is among the key sites that Biden could visit during his three-day stay, according to the sources.

Former US Presidents have visited the DMZ during their trips to South Korea.

In 1983, then President Ronald Reagan travelled to the zone. A decade later, then President Bill Clinton also visited it.

George W. Bush and Barack Obama made their high-profile visits to the zone in 2002 and 2012, respectively.

By far the most dramatic trip to the DMZ by an American President came in June 2019, when Donald Trump met former South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in a historic trilateral encounter.

Trump initially attempted to visit the DMZ aboard a helicopter in 2017, but the trip was cancelled due to thick fog.

Biden himself toured the DMZ in his then capacity as the chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in August 2001 and then as the Vice President in December 2013.

While in South Korea, Biden could also visit Camp Humphreys, a sprawling .S military base in Pyeongtaek, 70 km south of Seoul, to meet American service members and encourage them, observers said.

Following his trip here, Biden is set to fly to Tokyo to attend a Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) summit with the leaders of the other member nations: Australia, Japan and India.

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