The South Korean government has officially responded to Donald Trump’s comments about Korea following his meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping.
Trump asserted that “Korea actually used to a part of China.” Actually actually, Korea was never a part of China. Trump’s comment went viral in South Korea, prompting public outrage and a formal response. The South Korean government accused Trump of “shocking ignorance,” and stating that “It is worthless to respond to this kind of story,” given the gross historical inaccuracy.
The intent behind the quote is impossible to determine. Was Trump loosely quoting Xi Jinping, revealing a ethnocentric attitude toward Korea by the Chinese government? Was there a translation error? (The two used translators in their talks). Also, there’s no telling if Trump genuinely believes that. And by “a part of China,” does he mean that literally or metaphorically, like how they are close allies?
All anyone can do is speculate. However, this incident demonstrates profound ignorance of East Asian history. Not only that, it is a prime example of how potentially swayed he can be by information, true or not. If Xi Jinping is whispering sweet, ethnocentric nothings into Trump’s ear, and Trump’s eating it up, his attitudes towards China will do such a 180 that the entire world will get whiplash.