Over 200 left-leaning organizations in South Korea have pledged to protest the arrival of U.S. President Donald Trump in their country. The protesters have blasted Trump's rhetoric toward North Korea, asserting that his words could lead to war.
Trump is slated to visit South Korea from Nov. 7 to Nov. 8 as part of a broader tour of Asia. Roughly 220 organizations in South Korea have announced that their members will protest against Trump and his policies.
The coalition of protesters have dubbed themselves "No Trump, No War People's Rally" and will stage their first protest outside of the U.S. embassy in Seoul. The protesters have called for the U.S. to engage with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un diplomatically to diffuse tensions in the Korean Peninsula.
The Kim regime's propaganda arm reported on the planned protests, circulating reports in North Korea that their allies in South Korea were urging Trump "to promise to apologize for his reckless remarks at once and not ignite a war."
Associate professor Garren Mulloy of Japan's Daito Bunka University noted that the alliance between the two nations had been strained recently.
"Feelings are running high there at the moment over the long-standing problems in the South Korea-U.S. relationship ... There are some people there who still want to push the 'Sunshine Policy' of previous South Korean leaders, but Trump -- in his usual unpredictable way -- has also said some things that have really upset the Koreans," Mulloy said.
On Aug. 8, Trump strongly implied that the U.S. would launch a full-scale military action against North Korea if the Kim regime continued to expand its nuclear program and issue provocations, according to The New York Times.
"North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States," Trump said during a press event in New Jersey. "They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen."
Professor Song Young Chae of Seoul's Sangmyung University asserted in an interview that the planned protests against Trump would be marginal and that the majority of South Koreans supported an aggressive posture against the Kim regime.
"Rather than peace talks -- which will go nowhere, and the North will in any case ignore whenever it suits their ends -- it is more important to show military strength," Song said.
On Oct. 16, Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island said after he returned from South Korea that Trump's rhetoric had rattled the U.S. allies.
"I think they're confused, and I think they're a little bit shaken because they understand that they would be in the line of fire if there's any contact between the United States and North Korea in terms of a kinetic military operation," Reed said, according to The Hill.
The Senate Democrat added that he believed South Koreans had "a lack of confidence in what we're going to do."
On Oct. 31, the Trump administration disclosed that the president would not visit the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that separates North Korea and South Korea during his Asia trip, breaking from a longstanding precedent of U.S. commander in chiefs visiting the demarcation line.
"It's becoming a little bit of a cliche, frankly," a senior Trump administration official told The Guardian.
Instead, Trump will visit the U.S. military base Camp Humphreys in South Korea.
On Nov. 1, South Korean President Moon Jae-in stated before the National Assembly in Seoul that his administration would have to consent to any military action on the Korean Peninsula and that he would not pursue nuclear escalation, Reuters reports.
"According to the joint denuclearization declaration made by North and South Korea, we cannot tolerate or recognize North Korea as a nuclear state," Moon said. "We too, will not develop nuclear (weapons) or own them."