US-Korea alliance strong through different administrations

US-Korea alliance strong through different administrations

The U.S. alliance with South Korea has strengthened through different administrations in both countries for decades, the White House said Tuesday, after President Park Geun-hye offered to step down over a corruption scandal.

Park, who has been under mounting pressure to resign, said in a nationally televised address earlier Tuesday that she will leave her fate to the National Assembly and step down if the ruling and opposition parties put together a power transfer plan.

“The United States and South Korea have been close allies for decades and the strength of that alliance has persisted through Democratic and Republican administrations in the United States and that alliance has persisted through different administrations in the Korean presidency as well,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said at a briefing.

“The security relationship between the Republic and Korea and the United States is substantial and so important that it supersedes political relationships. The people-to-people ties between our two countries indicate just how important a relationship this is and that certainly supersedes politics,” he said.

U.S. President Barack Obama is committed to the alliance that enhances security of both countries, he said.

Earnest declined further comment on what he called a “complicated” political situation in Korea.

“That is a situation that the South Korean people will grapple with, but the ongoing alliance between our two countries is as strong and durable as ever,” he said.

He also said Obama hasn’t spoken with Park since their last call after the North’s fifth nuclear test in September.

The State Department withheld comment on Park’s offer to step down, only repeating a previous statement from spokesman John Kirby that the alliance between the two countries remains firm and the U.S. supports the right to peaceful protests.

“Beyond that, we’d refer you to the government of the Republic of Korea,” department spokesperson Alicia Edwards said.

South Koreans have taken to the streets in recent weeks, demanding Park step down over the scandal that centers on allegations that a long-time confidante of hers, Choi Soon-sil, exercised huge influence over her as well as state affairs, while extorting millions of dollars from big businesses.

Park has repeatedly apologized to the nation, but has failed to calm the anger down.

Source: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2016/11/120_219193.html

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