Moon says Korea-US alliance remains strong despite some ‘natural differences’

By Yonhap
  • Published : Sept 19, 2017 - 14:34
  • Updated : Sept 19, 2017 - 14:34
NEW YORK -- The South Korea-United States alliance remains strong as ever despite differences on various issues, such as how to adjust the countries' free trade agreement to make it more balanced, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said.

"Many of you expressed concerns over the Korea-US alliance, but there is no need to worry. It is (strong) like iron and stone," the president said while meeting 200 South Korean residents and expatriates in New York on Monday.

Moon arrived here earlier Monday for the UN General Assembly, set to start Tuesday.

Moon said it's not possible for South Korea and the US to have completely identical positions on various issues. He also said that any such differences are natural and will only make the alliance between the two countries even stronger.

"Such differences may also help make the Korea-US relationship healthier. You need not worry, because the Korea-US alliance remains strong, and we are further developing the relationship from a one-sided partnership to a more equal one where we will do our share of the work," he added, according pool reports released early Tuesday.

Moon and Trump have shown differences in their approach to issues, especially when it came to whether to engage with North Korea.

The South Korean leader has repeatedly stressed a need to resume talks -- at least at the level of inter-Korean dialogue -- with the communist state to help ease tension on the Korean Peninsula, while Trump has opposed any kind of dialogue with the reclusive state until Pyongyang showed signs of denuclearization.

In their latest telephone conversation, which followed the North's sixth and apparently most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3, the two leaders appeared to be on the same page, calling for thorough implementation of UN Security Council sanctions against the North so the communist state will have no other option but to come to the dialogue table.

"In the past, we let the US make all the decisions and we only followed. Now, we are working together to have UNSC resolutions passed," Moon told Monday's meeting.

Moon and Trump are scheduled to meet here Thursday for three-way talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. They are also expected to hold a bilateral summit to discuss ways to rein in North Korea's evolving nuclear and missile technologies. (Yonhap)