October 25, 2017 / 5:34 PM / a year ago

Trump declines to say if he will visit Korean DMZ on Asia trip

U.S. President Donald Trump talks with reporters as he departs the Oval Office of the White House for Dallas, in Washington D.C., U.S. October 25, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump declined to say on Wednesday whether he will visit the Korean Peninsula’s demilitarized zone during an upcoming Asia tour.

“I’d rather not say, but you’ll be surprised,” Trump told reporters on the White House South Lawn as he prepared to depart on a trip to Dallas.

Trump is scheduled to depart on Nov. 3 on a trip that includes visits to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. His trip is expected to be heavily dominated by the nuclear and ballistic missile threat that North Korea poses.

The DMZ is a border barrier between South and North Korea and is a traditional stop for American dignitaries.

White House officials say Trump is to visit South Korea’s Camp Humphreys during his visit to South Korea to hail the U.S.-South Korean alliance.

There are no concerns about what message Trump would send by not going to the DMZ, a senior White House official told reporters on Monday.

“The message is that we are guests during a state visit of President Moon Jae-in, who’s invited us to make a visit to Camp Humphreys. So we’ll keep talking with the South Korean government to see if there are things that they want to adjust,” the official said.

Reporting by Steve Holland, editing by G Crosse and Cynthia Osterman

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