Update 1: Adds context
Seoul, Feb 4 (efe-epa).- South Korean president Moon Jae-in said Thursday that he has agreed with his US counterpart, Joe Biden, to strengthen their bilateral alliance to achieve peace on the Korean Peninsula.
The leaders on Thursday held their first conversation, by telephone, since Biden was inaugurated on Jan. 20.
“President Biden and I pledged to further upgrade the ROK-US alliance, an alliance that is anchored in shared values,” Moon wrote on his social media profiles.
Moon said the two countries “will always stand together as we work for peace on the Korean Peninsula and tackle global challenges.”
“I welcomed ‘America’s return’ in the midst of mounting global challenges such as COVID-19, climate change and economic polarization,” he added in reference to the slogan popularized after Biden’s inauguration and that it is intended to counter former president Donald Trump’s nationalist “America First.”
The Moon administration has on occasion expressed its approval of the election of Biden after four years in which Trump loaded the relationship with Seoul, one of Washington’s main allies in Asia, with tension, making negative comments towards the country and threatening to withdraw troops.
South Korean presidential spokesman Kang Ming-seok added at a press conference that both leaders will draw up a “comprehensive” strategy to tackle the North Korean issue, an issue Biden and Moon agreed to “coordinate closely,” according to a statement from the White House.
The two presidents already spoke by phone on Nov. 12, shortly after Biden’s victory in the US election, and at that time agreed to work together to solve the problem posed by North Korea’s nuclear and missile program.
The denuclearization dialog with Pyongyang has been stalled since the Hanoi summit in February 2019, in which Washington refused to lift sanctions because it considered the regime’s disarmament offer insufficient.
Following the failure of the Trump administration to resolve the conflict, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un recently urged the new Biden government to propose new alternatives to resume the dialog, warning that Pyongyang is preparing new weapons tests.
Many experts believe that the North Korean regime could soon resume long-range missile launches or nuclear tests if Washington does not move to start new talks. EFE-EPA