WASHINGTON – The White House on Tuesday congratulated Moon Jae-In on his landslide victory in South Korea’s presidential election, a vote that could complicate President Donald Trump’s hardline stance on North Korea.
“We look forward to working with President-elect Moon to continue to strengthen the alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in a statement.
The statement, which somewhat unusually did not come from Trump himself, comes amid concern in Washington about Moon’s position on economic sanctions against North Korea.
Trump has pressed China and other regional actors to ramp up sanctions against Pyongyang over its controversial missile tests.
Moon has advocated talks with North Korea and reopening Kaesong, a joint North-South industrial facility that provided Pyongyang with much-needed income.
But concerns about Moon have been tempered somewhat by his softer stance on the deployment to South Korea of THAAD, a U.S. anti-missile system strongly opposed by China.