November 12, 2020 11:09
President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President-elect Joe Biden talked over the phone on Thursday morning, a Cheong Wa Dae spokesman said.
It was their first contact since Biden delivered his formal victory speech on Sunday.
"We reaffirmed our firm commitment to a robust [Korea-U.S.] alliance and peaceful and prosperous Korean Peninsula," Moon tweeted shortly after the phone call. "I will work closely with [Biden] to meet global challenges including COVID-19 and climate change."
Biden spoke to Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga half an hour earlier.
A day earlier, Moon invited his advisers on foreign affairs and security, Chung Eui-yong and Im Jong-seok, as well as former ambassadors to the U.S. Ahn Ho-young and Cho Yoon-je for lunch at Cheong Wa Dae to discuss inter-Korean and U.S.-Korean relations.
They told him that Biden will try to strengthen the trilateral relationship between the U.S., Korea and Japan and to urge Seoul to improve its relations with Tokyo.
Moon told them that thawing chilled relations between Korea and Japan is not an easy task. When it comes to resolving the issue of Koreans forced to labor for Japanese firms during World War II, "the wishes of the victims are the most important thing, and their agreement must come first, but this is not easy due to huge differences in opinion," he said.
The advisers told the president that a Seoul-Washington summit needs to be held soon and urged Moon to prepare for the prospect of U.S. troop reduction in Korea.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, who is visiting the U.S., said she met with Democratic senators Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Chris Coons of Delaware. The two are among the top candidates for secretary of state in the Biden administration. But Kang was unable to meet any officials from Biden's transition team.
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