Heartfelt Welcome by Argus Paul Estabrook

On November 7, 2017, South Korean President Moon Jae-in extended a “heartfelt welcome” towards US President Donald Trump as he arrived in South Korea for a two-day summit to reaffirm the Korea-US alliance.
Ear to Ear - A pro-Trump supporter gets yelled at by the entrance of National Assembly Station. Her sign advocates for a strong alliance between the US and South Korea.

On November 7, 2017, South Korean President Moon Jae-in extended a “heartfelt welcome” towards US President Donald Trump as he arrived in South Korea for a two-day summit to reaffirm the Korea-US alliance.

However, his stay did not pass without criticism. Labeling the US president a warmonger, the “No Trump Joint Action Task Force” organized rallies against his visit. Made up of 220 left-wing political parties, civic groups, labor unions and student groups, the association claimed his impulsive remarks towards North Korea heightened military tensions on the peninsula. 

In Seoul, hundreds of protesters with raised banners and candles chanted, “No Trump, no war!” Though impassioned, their presence was dwarfed by the National Police Agency who ordered its entire force to maintain maximum readiness at protest zones close to the US Embassy. 

A demonstration was also held near the National Assembly while the US President addressed parliament. With 8,000 police officers standing guard outside, Trump spoke of unification: ”We dream of highways connecting North and South, of cousins embracing cousins, and this nuclear nightmare replaced with the beautiful promise of peace.” 

However, two months later, his fiery tone concerning North Korea returned. “I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!” With a single flippant tweet, Trump revalidated prior fears of war — its threat continuing to loom over a future uncertain.

About Argus Paul Estabrook

I’m an emerging photographer currently based in Seoul, South Korea. As a Korean-American who grew up in a rural area of Virginia, I have a unique perspective of Korean identity and its relationship to both global and regional communities. I studied photography as an undergraduate but set it aside during my MFA program at James Madison University to concentrate on intermedia. After moving to South Korea I rediscovered photography, using it as a means to document and share my experiences.

My photography has been published in Burn Magazine and LensCulture. It has also been awarded by the Magnum Photography Awards, Sony World Photography Awards, LensCulture, PDN, IPOTY, IPA, MIFA, TIFA, as well as selected for inclusion at the 2017 Aperture Summer Open: On Freedom.​​ [Official Website]

At the Ready – Police stand alert while surrounding an anti-Trump protest in Seoul.

Show of Hands – An anti-Trump protest group calling themselves the Peace Mothers. The words “America” and “Out” are written on their white gloves.

Under Watch – Protester outside of the US Embassy. Her sign reads: “Trump. Give up the speech at the National Assembly. Execute the withdrawal of THAAD.”

Act Out – A demonstrator wearing pajamas impersonates the US president.

Dance Party – Listening to a satirized version of Gangnam Style, young protesters cut loose “Impeachy Style.”

War Advocates – Counter-protesters express their views, supportive of Trump’s tough rhetoric.

Along the Streets – Police line up to restrict movement around Gwanghwamun Plaza.

Sitting in Judgement – At Gwanghwamun Square, protesters sit down across the street from the US Embassy.

Rise Up – Anti-Trump protesters with banners and candles. Their signs read: “We oppose Trump’s speech at the National Assembly!” and “Trump, get out of here!”

Hold the Line – Police confront demonstrators and try to enter the protest area.

Arms Raised – Shouting at the police, protesters hold up signs reading: “We oppose Trump’s war crisis!”

The Calm Before – Police begin mobilizing in Gwanghwamun Square.

By the Numbers – Outside the National Assembly Building, police presence builds in anticipation of Trump’s address.

Face Value – Demonstrators display anti-Trump imagery in Seoul before his arrival.

Burst Your Bubble – A protest game organized on a sidewalk near the US Embassy.

Pointing Fingers – Demonstration materials at a bus stop near Gwanghwamun Station.

Reflect On – A pro-Trump supporter outside of National Assembly Station.

Push Over – An effigy of Trump is set down as protesters prepare to rally against his speech at the National Assembly.

Ear to Ear – A pro-Trump supporter gets yelled at by the entrance of National Assembly Station. Her sign advocates for a strong alliance between the US and South Korea.

Stand By – Police officers at Gwanghwamun Square wait to cross the street near the US Embassy.

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