President Moon Jae-in on Monday pledged to continue working closely with the US, both the current and incoming administrations, to ensure security and to push the Korean Peninsula peace process forward.
Speaking at a weekly meeting with his senior aides, Moon said his administration will work closely with the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden on bilateral and international issues.
“In particular, there will be no gaps in strengthening the Korea-US alliance, and making progress in the Korean Peninsula peace process,” Moon said, pledging that Seoul will continue working with Washington to strengthen bilateral relations.
“(South Korea) will do its best to ensure that the valuable progress made in the Trump administration is continued onto the next administration, and to make further advancements.”
Stressing that Seoul and Washington continued to work closely together on national security issues throughout the US election period, Moon said that outstanding issues in South Korea-US relations will not be pushed back to the next administration.
One of the more urgent issues between the two countries is the defense cost-sharing negotiations. The two sides have been deadlocked on the issue, failing to narrow the gap in their proposals. The US has requested a 50 percent increase in Seoul’s share of the costs to maintain US troops in South Korea, and Seoul has countered that with an offer of 13 percent more.
Saying his administration will communicate closely with Biden’s side on various issues, Moon expressed hope that the administration change in the US will give rise to new opportunities on North Korean issues.
“It is hoped that an environment that will allow for new opportunities and solutions to be sought in inter-Korean relations,” Moon said.
“We are prepared to make proactive efforts to create a Korean Peninsula of peace and prosperity. I hope that the South and North can play more important roles in Korean Peninsula issues.”
At the meeting, Moon also touched on the complications in the election process in the US, saying that although some time may be required to confirm the results, Moon said his administration will “absolutely respect and support US citizens’ choice.”
By Choi He-suk (firstname.lastname@example.org