Donald Trump has won the election. With the alliance between US and South Korea superseding both individual presidency and political parties, the White House has raised concern about some potential negative consequences his presidency would bring to the relationship between these two countries.
“The fact that Trump has won the election already astounded a lot of people,” said Yeji Chun (10), a student interested in politics. “We already know that Trump is against a lot of policies that are taking place right now during Obama’s presidency and so his win seems to worry a lot of people regarding the overturns of existing policies, possibly damaging the alliance between Korea and US.”
At a briefing on Wednesday from the White House, the press secretary John Earnest, warned that the election result does indeed casts doubt on the relationship. As a business and non-political tycoon, Trump has already expressed his negative opinions about US security commitments overseas, especially that of the commitment to South Korea. He stated that he would withdraw his 28,500 American troops from Korea unless Korea pays back in return.
“I’m not a Trump supporter,” said Eugene Chung (11), a political enthusiast. “But I do not necessarily think that Trump will completely stray away into a downfall and completely disregard the mutual relationship South Korea and US had built so far. He does seem to have some plans that may potentially reflect many ideas of Americans and at this point, we’ll just have to wait and see what he does.”
Widespread views dictate that Trump’s would reverse the free trade agreement between the two countries that has been in effect since 2012, a pact that Trump has clearly denounced. Furthermore, South Korea had ended its mutual relationship and curdled the ties with China last year when Seoul announced its disposition of the US Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) as a result of North Korea’s nuclear bomb warnings prior this year. Consequently, it simply comes down to that Trump’s threat to pull the US military forces out of Korea is actually demanding for more restitution of US military presence. Aside from the militaristic issue, Trump’s possible indication of talking with Kim Jong-Eun, the North Korea dictator, seems to leave more questions for US relationship with South Korea in all.
“Trump’s election would probably impact the relationship between China and Korea the most,” said Jenny Oh (9), another student interested in politics and foreign relations. “Since South Korea is deadlocked and if we decide to annul the deployment of THAAD, Korea would not only be degrading the general national image but trigger US to cast doubt on Korea as its long standing partner.”
Although Trump has made a series of remarks reaffirming the alliance between Korea and US a day after his election on a phone call with President Park Geun-hye, the relationship between the two seems to be unpredictable as much as Donald Trump is.