South Korea Asks for Donald Trump’s Help with North Korean Nuclear Threat

FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016, file photo, North Korean defectors prepare to release balloons carrying leaflets and a banner denouncing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for North Korea's latest nuclear test, in Paju, near the border with North Korea, South Korea. Out of the limelight, and …
AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File

The Yonhap news agency reports that South Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn will ask President-Elect Donald Trump to support South Korea’s efforts to denuclearize North Korea.

Hwang also expressed hopes for expanding its alliance with the United States under the Trump administration.

Hwang said South Korea expected “some changes in the policy directions of the new U.S. Administration.”

“I would like to congratulate Trump on his election, and hope this will be an opportunity for the development of the ties between South Korea and the United States,” he said.

According to Yonhap’s report, South Korean government ministries have been instructed to review Trump’s campaign pledges and devise measures to deal with any changes in U.S. policy toward South Korea. Also, the South Korean government is taking steps to stabilize market uncertainty caused by the U.S. presidential election.

South Korea’s Foreign Minister, Yun Byung-se, said he believes the Trump administration will largely stay the course on U.S. policy toward North Korea.

“Trump has indicated that the greatest problem facing the world is the nuclear threat and members of his national security team hold the position that favors applying strong pressure against the North,” Yun said during a meeting with members of the South Korean parliament.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye offered “sincere congratulations” to Trump, saying his victory was “based on the support of the American people for his experience and leadership.”

“The Government of the Republic of Korea, upon Mr. Trump’s election, will continue to closely cooperate with the next U.S. administration for the peace and prosperity in the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia region, as well as the world, through further deepening and developing the ROK-U.S. alliance,” said Park.

The South China Morning Post lists the biggest concerns of South Korea as the deployment of American THAAD anti-missile systems, the economy, and U.S. military cooperation:

Prior to his election Trump had also talked about forcing South Korea to pay more for US military support, claiming that the United States gets “practically nothing compared to the cost” of keeping troops here, even though Korea pays more than US$800 million annually, making it cheaper for the troops to be stationed in Korea than in the US.

He’s also threatened to abandon free trade agreements with Korea. For these reasons, in a recent survey sponsored by South China Morning Post, Koreans expressed the lowest rate of support for Trump of any Asian nation surveyed, at just 3 per cent. But some Koreans, admittedly a minority, have voiced passionate support for him.

The SCMP suggests Koreans are too distracted by domestic issues, including economic turbulence, an ageing society, and the corruption scandal surrounding President Park and her longtime friend Choi Soon-sil to pay a great deal of attention to the aftermath of the U.S. presidential race.