The U.S. alliance with South Korea ‘supersedes’ any individual presidency or political party, the White House said amid concern about potential negative effects a Donald Trump presidency would bring to the relationship.
“There’s a Democratic and Republican tradition to strengthening our alliance with South Korea,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said at a briefing Wednesday. “What we have found is that our alliance with South Korea supersedes any individual presidency, it supersedes any individual political party, because we’ve seen multiple presidents in both parties seek to strengthen that alliance.”
Trump’s election cast uncertainly over the fate of the alliance between the U.S. and South Korea because the real-estate tycoon has expressed deeply negative views of U.S. security commitments overseas as well as a willingness to withdraw 28,500 American troops from the South unless Seoul pays more for the troops.
His victory also threw into doubt the fate of the free trade agreement between the two countries, a pact that Trump has denounced as a “job-killing” deal and a “disaster.” Widespread views are that he could seek a renegotiation of the agreement that has been in effect since 2012.
A day after his election, however, Trump made a series of remarks reaffirming the alliance as he held his first phone call with South Korean President Park Geun-hye, according to Seoul’s presidential office.
“We are with you all the way and will not waver,” Trump was quoted as saying during his 10-minute call with Park Wednesday evening (Eastern Time). “We will be steadfast and strong with respect to working with you to protect against the instability in North Korea.”
Trump said, “We are going to be with you 100 percent” and “I am with you … We will all be safe together.”