Donald Trump pledges support for U.S., South Korea alliance

SEOUL,  President-elect Donald Trump told South Korea’s Park Geun-hye on Thursday that under his administration the United States would be with Seoul “100 percent” in tackling North Korea’s nuclear provocations.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump pledged to strengthen the alliance with South Korea, according to officials in Seoul. Photo by Dennis Van Tine/UPI | License Photo

The 10-minute phone call between Trump and Park occurred a day after the Republican nominee’s victory made headlines and took the world by surprise.

Markets in Asia, including South Korea, reacted negatively to the news on Wednesday, but bounced back on Thursday, the BBC reported.

The conversations between Trump and Park focused on themes that emphasized continuity of current U.S. North Korea policy: strengthening the U.S.-South Korea alliance and close cooperation in response to North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats, Yonhap reported.

According to the presidential Blue House, Park said the “strong U.S.-South Korea alliance is the cornerstone of robust U.S. leadership in the Asia-Pacific region,” adding the alliance should be developed in the mutual interest of both countries.

Trump had previously criticized South Korea, as well as Japan, for their dependence on U.S. forces for defense against North Korea’s military threats.

Trump had said both countries “don’t pay us,” although burden sharing has prevailed in Seoul and Tokyo.

The president-elect appeared to take a different approach to relations with Seoul, and said to Park, “We are with you all the way and we will not waver,” according to Yonhap.

Trump also said that he fully agreed with the president, adding he thinks North Korea is very unstable, according to the Blue House.

By Elizabeth Shim