Trump gets Seoul population wrong by 28 million after boast

Donald Trump misstated the population of South Korea’s capital city by around 28 million people, moments after telling a news conference he knew the country “better than anybody”.

The US president was responding indignantly to a question about coronavirus testing capacity from PBS NewsHour reporter Yamiche Alcindor, when he questioned her about her knowledge of Seoul.

“I know South Korea better than anybody,” he said.

“It’s a very tight – do you know how many people are in Seoul? Do you know how big the city of Seoul is? 38 million people. That’s bigger than anything we have.”

Official estimates of the city’s population put it at just over 10 million.

It is unclear how Mr Trump arrived at the figure of 38 million. The metropolitan area encompassing the city is the fifth largest in the world, with 25 million inhabitants, while the country has a total population of around 51 million.

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Some speculated that the president may have confused the number with Seoul’s elevation above sea level, which is 38 metres.

Mr Trump’s previous geographical shortcomings have been widely documented.

A previous report suggested he described Belgium was “a beautiful city”, while another claimed he mixed up the Baltic states with the Balkans in a meeting with bemused leaders of the former.

The presidents of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania were said to have been bewildered when he blamed them for starting wars that triggered the breakup of Yugoslavia.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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