Philip Goldberg, US ambassador to South Korea, on Monday praised South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol’s efforts to restore ties with Japan.
“We greatly value Korea’s commitment to promote trilateral and bilateral ties with Japan as witnessed in the ROK-Japan summit last week,” the ambassador said in the opening remarks ahead of his first meeting with the newly elected chair of the ruling People Power Party, Rep. Kim Gi-hyeon.
“We admire the actions and statements that were made there by President Yoon.”
Goldberg said the US commitment to defend South Korea was “ironclad.”
“The current exercise, Freedom Shield, shows we are working together as allies to deter and prevent all of the provocations and threats that come from North Korea,” he said.
He said the US is also “looking forward” to the visit of President Yoon next month, over which the two leaders will discuss “the full range of issues including those of military and security importance” as well as other bilateral issues including the economy.
“I know that President Biden is looking forward to that visit,” he added.
The ruling party’s new leader, Kim, called for increased solidarity among democracies sharing common values.
“After the new administration assumed office (in South Korea), our relations with Japan have been normalized. Not only have they with Japan, but our relations with the US have also gotten friendlier,” he said.
Kim said he hoped for complementary measures from the US as the Inflation Reduction Act is feared to have an adverse impact on South Korean businesses.
“We look forward to continuing our close engagement with the PPP (People Power Party) under your leadership,” Goldberg said, closing his remarks.
Kim and Goldberg noted that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the South Korea-US alliance.
The rest of the meeting proceeded behind closed doors for about 35 minutes.