Two leaders pledge to strengthen US-South Korea alliance during their first phone call since new US president assumed office.
US President Joe Biden and his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in have pledged to upgrade their two nations’ alliance and pursue a “comprehensive” strategy on North Korea in a phone call.
It was their first phone call since Biden took his oath as president on January 20. Moon has previously offered to mediate between the United States and North Korea, and get stalled denuclearisation talks back on track.
Moon’s spokesman, Kang Min-seok was quoted by Yonhap news agency as saying that the two leaders agreed to work together for the shared goal of denuclearising the Korean Peninsula and bringing lasting peace to the region.
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Kang said Moon proposed that the two sides make joint efforts to advance the denuclearisation and peace-building process.
Biden also pledged close cooperation to achieve the goal, saying it was important for the two countries to maintain the same position on the matter, Kang added.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Biden’s predecessor, former President Donald Trump had agreed to work towards the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula at their first summit in 2018, but a second summit and subsequent working-level talks fell apart.
“We will always stand together as we work for peace on the Korean Peninsula and tackle global challenges,” Moon said in a separate statement after his call with Biden.
Moon also welcomed what he described as “America’s return” in the midst of mounting global challenges – the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and economic polarisation.
South Korea’s unification minister in charge of inter-Korean affairs called on Wednesday for the United States to be flexible in enforcing sanctions aimed at curbing Pyongyang’s nuclear programmes to revive denuclearisation talks.
During the half-hour conversation, the two leaders also agreed to develop a “comprehensive and strategic” alliance to promote democracy, human rights and multilateralism in the world, beyond the Peninsula and the Indo-Pacific region.
Before he was sworn in as president, Biden had called South Korea a “linchpin” of security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.
On Japan, the two leaders also shared the view that an improvement in Seoul-Tokyo relations was crucial, as well as the strengthening of trilateral security partnerships, Yonhap said, citing Kang.
Moon and Biden previously spoke after Biden was confirmed the winner of the US election in November.
Since taking office, Biden has also spoken over the phone with the leaders of countries including Canada, Mexico, Britain, Russia and Japan.
Biden is expected to hold his first face-to-face meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this month.