Trump scraps a surprise visit to the demilitarized zone at the Korean border because of bad weather

US President Donald Trump waits next to helicopters as US Army Garrison Yongsan in Seoul, South Korea on November 8, 2017, waiting for bad weather to clear so they can try and make a second attempt to fly to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). (Photo: Jim Waatson/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Donald Trump tried to make a suprise visit to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on Wednesday morning.
  • Trump’s helicopter made two attempts to depart Seoul but the trip had to be aborted due to fog and bad weather.
  • Trump had not been scheduled to visit the DMZ but yesterday cryptically hinted Wednesday would be “an exciting day”.
  • According to an official from President Moon’s office, the South Korean President had been waiting at the DMZ for Trump’s arrival.

US President Donald Trump aborted a surprise visit to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on Wednesday morning.

Trump, who is currently on a 13-day tour of Asia, attempted to depart Seoul in a helicopter at 7:43 a.m., but bad weather and a thick fog forced a return landing in Seoul less than thirty minutes later.

Every US president since Ronald Reagan has visited the DMZ at some point. However, a visit was not officially part of Trump’s itinerary after a White House official said, “It’s becoming a bit of a cliche, frankly.”

Yet Trump had hinted a big event would be coming on Wednesday.

At Tuesday’s state dinner with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Trump announced cryptically, “We’re going to have an exciting day tomorrow, for many reasons that people will find out.”

Press travelling with the president were told to wait 10 to 20 minutes for another attempt. But after waiting for nearly an hour the president departed in a motorcade around 9 a.m, according to a White House pool report.

Secret Service counter-assault team members, accompanying US President Donald Trump in another helicopter, ride in the back of a helicopter as they attempt to fly to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) over Seoul, South Korea on November 8, 2017. (Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had summoned reporters early on Wednesday morning.

“This is where we’re going,” Sanders said, holding up a piece of notepaper that had the letters “DMZ” scrawled on it.

She said that was the way she had been instructed to tell the press and that all activity regarding the trip to the Demilitarized Zone were under embargo, and could not be reported on, until Trump landed back in Seoul after the visit.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks to reporters after presidential helicopters returned US President Donald Trump to US Army Garrison Yongsan in Seoul, South Korea on November 8, 2017. (Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

President Moon was waiting for Trump at the Demilitarized Zone’s joint security area, according to an official from South Korea’s presidential office cited by Yonhap News. Trump invited Moon on Tuesday to join him at the DMZ, the news agency reported.

The US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis, and Vice President Mike Pence have all visited the DMZ within the last few months.

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