The US and South Korea today vowed to strengthen their alliance through defence cooperation to fight the threats posed by North Korea with President Donald Trump giving a “conceptual approval” to sell Seoul American military equipment worth billions of dollars. On Tuesday, North Korea fired a missile over Japan, prompting Trump to insist that “all options were on the table” in an implied threat of pre-emptive military action.
Trump in a phone call with his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in discussed a coordinated response to deal with the “destabilising and escalatory behaviour” of North Korea, the White House said. “Trump and Moon pledged to continue to apply strong diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea and to make all necessary preparations to deter and defend against the growing threat posed by North Korea,” it said.
The two leaders agreed to strengthen the alliance through defence cooperation and to strengthen South Korea’s defence capabilities. “Trump provided his conceptual approval of planned purchases by South Korea of billions of dollars in American military equipment,” the White House said. In a separate call, Trump spoke with President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan to discuss the two countries’ 25-year relationship and his recently announced South Asia strategy.
“Trump expressed appreciation for Kazakhstan’s regional and global leadership, including its upcoming tenure as Chair of the United Nations Security Council in January, and congratulated President Nazarbayev on hosting the Astana Expo 2017,” the White House said. Trump also spoke with President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia. “President Trump stressed the importance of Colombia doing its utmost to eliminate the production and trafficking of illegal drugs,” it said.