U.S. President Donald Trump has reportedly praised South Korea adamantly after meeting with the country’s president Jae-in Moon recently.
Trump reportedly met with Jong-uk Kim, an 81-year-old real estate developer at his golf club in New Jersey last Saturday.
Kim told the Korea Daily afterwards that he was invited to Trump’s dinner at his golf club a day after the president’s meeting with the South Korean leader. Kim was reportedly the only Korean at the dinner as he dined with Trump at the same table.
“Learning more about Korea makes me feel even better,” Trump reportedly told Kim. “I have many great thoughts about Korea. I like Korea and Korean people.”
About Trump’s remarks, Kim said: “It seemed as if he was making an effort to spread the words about his good feelings towards Korea.”
At the dinner, Trump also promoted Kim to the rest of his invitees, praising him for receiving the Five Star Diamond Award last March. Trump himself has received the same award in the past. The award is given by the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences to hotel and restaurant owners as well as athletes. Besides Trump, Arnold Palmer and Muhammad Ali have won the award.
Trump also told Kim to call him any time if he needs help before taking a group photo.
“I’ve known Trump since I was running taekwondo classes,” Kim said. “I supported him aggressively during the election. I want to lead the exchange between Korea and the Trump administration. Ideally, I’d like to encourage him to continue to promote Korea as a fine country.”
Kim immigrated to the U.S. in 1975 when he began working as a taekwondo instructor. In Korea, he served as the interpreter for U.S. Army generals after graduating from Yonsei University’s business school. He is currently running 12 taekwondo schools under the title Dragon Kim USA School across New York, Philadelphia, Connecticut and New Jersey. He reportedly achieved his wealth through investing in real estate and film industry.
In 2005, the Staten Island government named a street after Kim, called Grandmaster Kim Way, which runs for about 48 kilometers. He has also received honorary awards from the mayors of New York and New Jersey for his charity work.