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AP Explains: How a single Trump sentence enraged South Korea

AP Explains: How a single Trump sentence enraged South Korea
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In this April 7, 2017 file photo, U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping walk together after their meetings at Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP / Alex Brandon, File)

Published Friday, April 21, 2017 6:59AM EDT

SEOUL, South Korea U.S. President Donald Trump s apparently offhand comment after meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping that "Korea actually used to be a part of China" has enraged many South Koreans.

The historically inaccurate sentence from a Wall Street Journal interview bumps up against a raft of historical and political sensitivities in a country where many have long feared Chinese designs on the Korean Peninsula. It also feeds neatly into longstanding worries about Seoul s shrinking role in dealing with its nuclear-armed rival, North Korea.

Ahn Hong-seok, a 22-year-old college student, said that if Trump "is a person capable of becoming a president, I think he should not distort the precious history of another country."

Many here assume that Xi fed that ahistorical nugget to Trump, who also admitted that after 10 minutes listening to Xi, he realized that Beijing s influence over North Korea was much less than he had thought.
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