Photograph: South Korean antiwar protesters at a rally for peace in Seoul, South Korea, November 7, 2017. (Sipa via AP Images)
Less than a year ago, South-Koreans stood united in their call for the impeachment of their leader Park Geun-hye. Several weeks of massive protests against Park and the political scandal she was involved in led to the resignation of the former President. With new President Moon Jae-in pursuing a more liberal course, South-Koreans are mobilizing again, and this time Donald Trump is their target.
The American President, on a 12-day Asia tour, landed in South-Korea on Monday, while a coalition of antiwar, trade-union, and civil-society groups organized a “No Trump, No War National Rally”. On Saturday, days ahead of President Trump’s visit, hundreds of South Koreans took over their capital in protest. Just a few days later on Tuesday, thousands of Koreans flooded the streets in eight Korean cities to tell the militaristic president to go home. The core of their message is that, while South Korea is not seeking a conflict, Trump’s outspoken and sometimes aggressive tone does the situation on the Korean peninsula more bad than good! “He could be welcomed here, if he was the messenger of peace,” one activist told CNN. “But he is the messenger of war […], and he is not afraid of war again in this world.”
Activists also protest a hidden agenda they seem to see underlying Trump’s tough stance against the North-Korean regime. According to ABC-news, demonstrators accused the outspoken president of not only raising tensions with North Korea but also “pressuring Seoul to buy more U.S. weapons. They also criticized him for pressing Seoul to re-do a bilateral free trade deal between the countries so that it’s more favorable to the United States.”
However, not all South-Koreans stand united in their resistance against the US-President. Across the street of the anti-Trump protests on Tuesday, hundreds of Trump supporters waved the U.S. and South Korean flags and held signs that read ‘Blood Allies Korea US’. Mainly the older Korean generations, who tend to be more conservative, are supportive of Trump’s tough stance against the North. They accuse liberal South Korean President Moon of being too soft on Pyongyang.
Read more about the South-Korean protests, the chances of a US – North Korea war, and the reasons for many Moon Jae-in followers to be disappointed in their President in this article by the Nation.