Near but far: Trump, Kim find themselves closer than ever
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — It’s obvious to anyone who looks at a map but also, this week, especially noteworthy: The leaders of two nations that have squared off with harsh words and the threat of nuclear war are now closer to each other than New York City’s Trump Tower is to the White House.
That’s presuming North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is in fact in Pyongyang, which is likely, though not as definite as President Donald Trump’s presence in Seoul, the South Korean capital. The American leader was there on Tuesday and Wednesday, meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and urging Kim to “come to the table” and “make a deal.”
The proximity of Trump and Kim this week is an interesting blip and, probably, little more. But it underscores a daily fact of life for the residents of the two Koreas’ capitals: Their seats of government, mortal enemies linked by a common heritage, spend every day virtually breathing down each other’s geographic necks.
Seoul, home to the Blue House where South Korea’s president works, is just 125 miles (200 kilometers) from Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung Square and the heart of the North Korean regime. New York City, by comparison, is 205 miles (330 kilometers) from Washington, D.C.
Trump will not get as near as he might to Pyongyang, however. On this trip, at least, he is not visiting the Demilitarized Zone that marks the border between North Korea and South Korea. With reporters sworn to secrecy and a beefed-up security retinue in tow, his helicopter took off early Wednesday bound for the heavily fortified border. But plans were botched because of bad weather.
For direct comparison, here is an assortment of approximate distances:
— Seattle to Vancouver, British Columbia: 120 miles (195 kilometers)
— Beirut to Jerusalem: 150 miles (240 kilometers)
— Singapore to Kuala Lumpur: 200 miles (320 kilometers)
— London to Paris: 215 miles (345 kilometers)
— Miami to Havana: 230 miles (370 kilometers)
— Johannesburg to Cape Town, South Africa: 785 miles (1260 kilometers)