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President Trump to Meet with Korean Business Leaders during Visit to Seoul in Late June
Korean Business Leaders Nervous About Meeting with Trump
President Trump to Meet with Korean Business Leaders during Visit to Seoul in Late June
  • By Jung Suk-yee
  • June 26, 2019, 10:07
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Shin Dong-bin (right), chairman of Lotte Group, talks with U.S. President Donald Trump at the Oval Office of the White House on May 13 (local time).

U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to meet with Korean business leaders during his visit to Korea from June 29 to 30. They will include Lee Jae-yong, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, Chung Eui-sun, senior vice chairman of Hyundai Motor Group, Chey Tae-won, chairman of SK Group, and Koo Kwang-mo, chairman of LG Group.

"Trump will meet with Korean business leaders on June 30,” business and diplomatic sources quoted a U.S. senior official as saying on June 25 in a briefing on the U.S. president’s participation in the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan and visit to South Korea.

Major Korean business groups such as Samsung, Hyundai, SK and LG say that they have not been contacted with respect to President Trump’s visit to South Korea. Major economic organizations such as the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) are not currently planning a separate meeting with him. However, as President Trump's schedule for the visit has been confirmed recently, some experts speculate that the government would notify Korean companies of the schedule.

If the meeting is finally realized, Shin Dong-bin, chairman of Lotte Group, will meet President Trump for the second time this year after May. In December 2016, President Trump invited Samsung vice chairman Lee to the Tech Summit as a president-elect, but Lee could not accept the invitation because he was banned from leaving the country due to a special investigation by the prosecution.

The Korean business community is tense about what President Trump will say at this meeting. "I am concerned because President Trump could make sensitive demands regarding the U.S.-China trade dispute, going beyond calling for Korean companies’ investment in the United States," said an official of the Korean business world. Therefore, industry watchers say that it cannot be ruled out that President Trump may pressure LG U+, which uses 5G equipment from Huawei, and Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, which supply memories to Huawei, to sever business ties with the Chinese company.

When President Trump visited the United Kingdom on June 4 (local time), he had a business meeting with 10 American and British business leaders. In May, he met with key Japanese businesspeople during a state visit to Japan and urged them to observe fair trade principles and invest in the United States. About 30 executives of major Japanese companies including Softbank, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Rakuten, Hitachi and the Mitsubishi UFL Financial Group, attended a luncheon with President Trump held at the U.S. Embassy in Japan.