Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin met with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House Monday (local time), becoming the first South Korean conglomerate leader to have such a meeting since Trump took office in January 2017. While he had expressed a sense of discontent over the sharing of the defense cost with South Korea, Trump has apparently welcomed Lotte’s investment in the United States worth some 3.1 billion U.S. dollars.
Their meeting at the Oval Office on Monday lasted about 30 minutes, and was also attended by U.S. National Security Council (NSC) Senior Director for Asian Affairs Matthew Pottinger and South Korea’s Ambassador to the United States Cho Yoon-je, Lotte Group said. President Trump reportedly asked Shin about Lotte’s ethylene plant in Lake Charles, Louisiana, whose construction was completed last Thursday, praising the South Korean conglomerate’s bold investment. When Shin mentioned Lotte New York Palace Hotel, which the company acquired in 2015, Trump said that it was a good investment and advised the company to be cautious about preserving the building with a long tradition, according to the company.
President Trump is reported to have rejoiced to hear Ambassador Cho’s comment that South Korean companies have lately increased investment in the United States and that one quarter of South Korea’s accumulated investment in the United States occurred over the past two years during President Trump’s term. “Great to welcome Chairman Shin from Lotte Group to the White House,” Trump tweeted, following the meeting. Trump is scheduled to visit Lake Charles on Tuesday to have a look around the local facilities for liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports and deliver a speech about energy infrastructure and economic growth.
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