U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has assured South Korea that the U.S. would maintain strong U.S. military presence there to help guard against any aggression from North Korea.
Yonhap news agency cites an unidentified diplomatic official in reporting discussions Trump had in a 10-minute telephone conversation with South Korean President Park Geun-hye.
The official said Trump told her that he agrees “100 percent” in hoping the two allies will further bolster their ties.
According to the official, Trump added that the US will continue to work closely with South Korea “until the end” to ensure the security of both countries.
Trump added that Washington will work together with Seoul “until the end” for the security of the United States and South Korea, according to the official.
During the phone call to Trump, Park congratulated the President-elect on the victory and reaffirmed South Korea close ties with the US that was built on trust that has spanned over the past six decades. The alliance, Park said, is the “cornerstone” of peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific.
“I expect that (we) can strengthen and develop the alliance down the road for the shared interests in various areas,” she said, as quoted by Yonhap.
Park also reminded Trump of North Korea’s nuclear issue which was considered the “greatest threat” towards South Korea and the US.
“Given that in the past, North Korea staged provocations during the period of the government transition in the U.S., we need to closely cooperate in advance to thoroughly deter possible North Korean provocations and respond sternly if provoked,” she said.
Meanwhile Australia’s prime minister says he spoke with Trump over the telephone and the U.S. president-elect agreed on the importance of the U.S. military alliance with Australia and the importance of the U.S. military presence to the security of the Asia-Pacific region.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says Trump “appreciates, honors” and “admires” the 65-year-old bilateral defense pact that requires the security partners to consult if either comes under attack but does not commit them to come to the other’s defense.
Turnbull would not say whether Trump plans to continue to increase the U.S. military buildup in Australia. He described their talk as “warm” and “very frank.”
“We discussed the vital importance of the United States’ continued strong presence in our region,” Turnbull said, as quoted by the ABC.
“We agreed that presence has been an absolutely essential foundation of the peace and stability that has enabled the remarkable growth and prosperity — the remarkable economic growth we have seen over the last 40 years.”
Additional reporting by the Associated Press