According to a new book by counter-terrorism expert Peter Bergen, Donald Trump proposed evacuating all 25 million citizens living in Seoul, South Korea at a time when tensions were on the rise with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un.
The Guardian reports Bergen states in his book, “Trump and His Generals: The Cost of Chaos,” the president was shown a map of North and South Korea in 2017 at a time when Kim was ordering an increase in missile tests.
Trump was “shown a satellite image of the Korean peninsula at night, showing the lights of China and South Korea and the blackness of North Korea in between. Trump initially mistook the void for an ocean. When he was shown the bright lights of Seoul just 30 miles south of the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, the president asked: ‘Why is Seoul so close to the North Korean border?'” the Guardian reports, adding, “Trump had been repeatedly told that US freedom of action against North Korea was constrained by the fact that the regime’s artillery could demolish the South Korean capital in retaliation for any attack, inflicting mass casualties on its population of 25 million.”
“They have to move,” Trump reportedly exclaimed, writes Bergen, adding Pentagon and security officials “were initially unsure if the president was joking,” until Trump then repeated the line: “They have to move!”
The Guardian also reports Bergen wrote Trump watched “retired four-star general, Jack Keane, interviewed on Fox News in late January 2018, saying that US troops deployed to South Korea should not take their families with them,” leading the president to tell his national security team: “I want an evacuation of American civilians from South Korea”.
The president was then advised that such a move “would be interpreted as a signal that the US was ready to go to war, and would crash the South Korean stock market … but Trump is reported to have ignored the warning, telling his team: “Go do it!” the report states.
Needless to say, both of Trump’s order were ignored, Bergen writes.
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