Trump changes tune on SKorean defense

US President-elect Donald Trump shifts from earlier negative stance on defending Washington's military ally South Korea

Trump changes tune on SKorean defense

World Bulletin / News Desk

United States leader-in-waiting Donald Trump vowed to strengthen ties with South Korea on Thursday, according to local media -- representing a turnaround from his comments on the campaign trail.

Trump held phone talks with South Korean President Park Geun-hye less than 24 hours after claiming a surprise election win over Hillary Clinton.

An official source cited by Yonhap News Agency revealed that Trump insisted on maintaining a “strong” posture to defend the South, promising to work together “until the end”.

The celebrity mogul-turned-politician previously criticized the Seoul-Washington alliance as heavily weighted in South Korea’s favor, suggesting that the U.S. should backtrack from its obligation to protect the South unless the latter pays more money.

There are currently close to 30,000 U.S. troops stationed in the South, with plans to soon deploy an American THAAD anti-missile battery despite strong objections from China, Russia and North Korea.

Following two rogue nuclear tests by the North this year alone, there have been growing calls among lawmakers in Seoul to respond by building an indigenous arsenal of nukes -- rather than relying on American defense capabilities.

South Korean government officials have reportedly been working to assess how the Washington alliance might change in the wake of Trump’s victory.

Some analysts have taken seriously his past expression of willingness to talk with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un after years of failed efforts to entice Pyongyang to denuclearize -- they will also be keen to see whether the North refrains from provocations while it makes its own judgment about Trump’s position on the peninsula.

But a newspaper commentary in the reclusive state’s official Rodong Sinmun on Thursday made clear that “Washington's hope for North Korea's denuclearization is an outdated illusion."

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Last Mod: 10 Kasım 2016, 09:55
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