Donald Trump has sparked outrage among the world’s leaders after saying “Korea actually used to be part of China”.
South Korean officials are demanding answers after President Trump in a Wall Street Journal interview recalled his discussion with Chinese President Xi Jinping saying that Korea had previously been part of China.
"He then went into the history of China and Korea. Not North Korea, Korea. And you know, you’re talking about thousands of years . . . and many wars," Trump says in the Wall Street Journal interview of his meeting with the Chinese leader..
"And Korea actually used to be a part of China. And after listening for 10 minutes, I realized that it’s not so easy.”
The comments left political South Korean officials livid, with a Quart interview later describing the President’s comments as a “glaring historical inaccuracy”.
Despite initially saying Trump’s comments were “not worthy of a response”, the Korean foreign ministry back-tracked and said it would investigate the legitimacy of the conversation between the two presidents.
“Whether that is true or not, Korea hasn’t been a part of China for thousands of years and it is an historical fact that the international community acknowledges and no one can deny it,” a foreign ministry official said.
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After a rocky start, Trump's relationship with China appears to have significantly improved after meeting with Xi at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida on April 6-7.
During the US presidential campaign, Trump harshly attacked Beijing as a currency manipulator and threatened to slap 45 per cent tariffs on Chinese imports.
It remains unclear whether Trump was quoting the Chinese president verbatim, quoting his interpreter or simply paraphrasing when he spoke of their meeting.
The comments further add to the confusing representation of the Trump administration.
Since taking office, there have been monumental discrepancies between statements from the White House, State Department and Trump himself.