The White House released a statement Tuesday congratulating South Korean president-elect Moon Jae-in, who is in favor of dialogue with North Korea, for his victory in Tuesday’s election.
“We congratulate President-elect Moon Jae-in and join the people of South Korea in celebrating their peaceful, democratic transition of power,” the statement from the office of White House press secretary Sean Spicer said. “We look forward to working with President-elect Moon to continue to strengthen the alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea and to deepen the enduring friendship and partnership between our two countries.”
The Korean Peninsula has been at the top of President Donald Trump’s foreign policy agenda in recent weeks, with North Korea conducting multiple missile tests and engaging in activity consistent with preparations for a sixth nuclear test. In response, Trump has called for increased pressure on the North Korean regime of Kim Jong Un and has specifically sought the aid of the Chinese government in ratcheting up pressure on Pyongyang.
Trump has said that a “major conflict” with North Korea is possible and that the U.S. and its allies will not shy away from dealing with the Kim regime, with or without the help of the Chinese government.
Moon replaces former South Korean President Park Geun-hye, who was impeached last December. He is a former human rights lawyer who has advocated for closer ties to North Korea.