U.S. President Donald Trump attempted to make a surprise visit to South Korea's heavily fortified border with communist North Korea but failed due to bad weather conditions, an official from South Korea's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said Wednesday.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in, on the other hand, was waiting for him at a guard post inside the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the official said.
The joint trip to the DMZ was proposed by Moon during their bilateral summit Tuesday, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The official said Moon was able to reach their proposed destination as he took off early in the morning.
Heavy fog that formed later near the DMZ prevented Trump's helicopter from landing, forcing him to return to a U.S. military base in Yongsan, Seoul.
Moon later headed home, the official told reporters.
Trump's trip to the DMZ, if realized, would have underscored the importance, as well as the strength, of the Korea-U.S. alliance, officials here noted.
Washington earlier denied any plans by Trump to visit the inter-Korean border area during his two-day visit here, apparently for safety reasons.
Currently, some 28,500 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea under the countries' joint defense alliance. Many of them are also stationed at frontline guard posts inside the DMZ, along with their South Korean counterparts.
Shortly after his arrival here Tuesday, the U.S. president visited Camp Humphreys, a U.S. military based located 70 kilometers south of Seoul, and jointly hosted a lunch with Moon for South Korean and U.S. armed service members there.
He was set to pay his respects to Korean War veterans at the country's national cemetery. He will also deliver a speech at the National Assembly before heading to China later Wednesday.
Kim Sua firstname.lastname@example.org
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