Moon promised Trump that Seoul would build up its capacity to defend itself, adding that the two countries’ economic partnership is “an essential pillar” for the future development of their alliance. He also thanked the US president for being the first foreign leader to congratulate him on his election in May.
As thanks, Moon asked Trump to visit South Korea later this year, an invitation the US president “graciously accepted.” The trip will “demonstrate not only our friendship but also the intimate bond our peoples have come to foster through thick and thin,” the South Korean president said.
The US and South Korea are working with other allies in the region, including Japan, and global partners “on a range of diplomatic, security and economic measures to protect our allies and our own citizens from this menace known as North Korea,” Trump said, outlining the threat from the isolated nation’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
“President Trump and I agreed that only strong security can bring about genuine peace,” Moon said. “The threat and provocation of the North will be met with a stern response.”
That response “will employ both sanctions and dialogue in a phased and comprehensive approach” to denuclearizing North Korea, he added.
In a Thursday meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), Moon outlined how China can play a role in helping defuse tensions in the region, the Korea Herald reported.
“I think that China has made an effort after the US-China summit. I think that the fact that North Korea has not conducted a sixth nuclear test nor launched an ICBM is the result of President Trump’s efforts, and the part Beijing is playing,” Moon said.
However, relations between the US and China have recently taken a downturn. On Thursday, the Trump administration announced both sanctions on a Chinese bank and plans to sell Taiwan more than $1.4 billion in weapons. China’s ambassador to the US reportedly said the deal goes against the “spirit” of talks between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in April.
Trump promised that the US “will defend itself, always will defend itself, always,” and will always defend its allies. He then took the opportunity to use similar language to his lecture to NATO allies, saying that the US and South Korea are working together “to ensure fair burden-sharing in support of the United States military presence in South Korea.”
“Burden-sharing is a very important factor, a factor that’s becoming more and more prevalent, certainly in this administration,” the US president said.