May 11, 2017 12:00
President Moon Jae-in and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump in a phone conversation Wednesday vowed to meet as early as possible to discuss North Korea and other pending issues.
Trump congratulated Moon on his election victory and promised to invite him to Washington.
"The South Korea-U.S. alliance is more important than at any other time given the growing uncertainties over the security situation of the Korean Peninsula," Moon was quoted as saying in their 30-minute phone call.
The White House said Trump and Moon "agreed to continue to strengthen the alliance and to deepen the enduring friendship between our two countries."
White House spokesman Sean Spicer also read a statement on Moon's election win. "We congratulate President-elect Moon Jae-in and join the people of South Korea in celebrating their peaceful, democratic transition of power," Spicer told reporters.
Conservative U.S. media voiced fears of potential friction between the two allies in dealing with a belligerent North Korea following almost a decade of conservative rule in South Korea that led to a hard-line approach toward the North.
Moon has pledged to build bridges with the North, which some U.S. media already dubbed "Moonshine policy" in allusion to the "sunshine policy" of President Kim Dae-jung.
The Washington Post said the election showed that democracy is still alive in the South but warned of "a new and potentially difficult chapter in relations with Washington."
The Wall Street Journal also warned of potential "friction." But a WSJ op-ed by Michael Breen said Moon's approach is likely to be more realistic than the "sunshine policy."
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