By Norman Pearlstine
September 28, 2017
In the escalating standoff between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, Seoul is ground zero. Just 35 miles from the demilitarized zone, the metropolitan area of 25 million, with its fashionable, upscale entertainment bars, globe-spanning banks and new 123-story Lotte Group building, could be wiped off the map in any conflict by North Korea’s artillery, let alone its ever improving nuclear arsenal.
But it’s not Kim that the urbane population of this capital is most worried about. It is Trump’s seeming indifference to the value of Washington’s alliance with their city that confuses the citizens of Seoul. They worry that the American President, who has suggested he might abandon U.S. defense of the South, or open a trade war with it, is working with an outdated understanding of the peninsula, and the region.