December 13, 2018 11:59
President Moon Jae-in's official airplane has been blacklisted by the U.S. because it had flown him to North Korea, it emerged Wednesday. The official plane even had to be cleared for a visit to the U.S. in September after it was slapped with a 180-day ban.
One diplomatic source said, "A blacklisted plane can only travel to the U.S. by special permission."
U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order in September 2017 that bans all aircraft that traveled to North Korea from entering the U.S. for 180 days. But exceptions can be made.
A U.S. government official confirmed that Moon's plane had to receive authorization even when Moon went to New York on Sept. 24 to attend the UN General Assembly and meet Trump.
Last month, the presidential office hurriedly chose the Czech Republic as a midway refueling point for the aircraft during Moon's trip to Argentina for the G20 summit because the ban is still in place. It initially wanted it to land in Los Angeles for a meeting with Korean-Americans there.
Moon could have landed in Los Angeles if special permission had been sought, but Cheong Wa Dae reportedly felt insulted and complained about the inconvenience, so it opted for an alternative.
A Cheong Wa Dae official denied the report. "The change in midway stopover point from Los Angeles to the Czech Republic has nothing to do with any sanctions," the official said but added, "A presidential aircraft being blacklisted is nonsense."
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