Ban Ki-moon 'not worried' about U.S.-South Korea relations


Former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon isn’t worried about the future of U.S.-South Korea relations in the new era of U.S. President Donald Trump.

Ban, 72, who has yet to officially announce a presidential run in his native South Korea but has been traveling across the country and speaking to the press, told reporters Friday that he is not “greatly concerned” about changes under Trump.

“I’m not greatly concerned. All [issues] can be resolved diplomatically,” Ban said, according to South Korean newspaper JoongAng Ilbo.

Ban was attending a reception at Seoul’s foreign ministry where he met with top envoys to South Korea.

Ban, who worked at the U.N. for 10 years, presided over issues including climate change and the conflicts in the Ukraine and Syria.

On Friday, Ban added, “The relationship between the United States and South Korea is very important in itself, and for that reason I am confident even if there is a temporary change in circumstances, [the relationship] will not be greatly affected.”

Ban pointed out Trump and President Park Geun-hye exchanged a phone call, during which the U.S. president vowed to be with Seoul “100 percent” in tackling North Korea’s nuclear provocations.

Ban also said he would recommend taking a “future-oriented approach” to the relationship between South Korea and Japan.

The two countries work together closely in North Korea-related security issues, but have been recently embroiled in a dispute regarding territory and history.

The former U.N. chief is considered to be the more conservative choice for president, if he chooses to run.

South Korea’s opposition party candidate Moon Jae-in, who officially announced his candidacy in 2016, is taking a different approach to relations with Tokyo.

On Friday, Moon visited the new statue dedicated to wartime “comfort women” outside the Japanese consulate in Busan, Korea’s second largest city, local news service Money Today reported.

Moon said the financial compensation deal for the surviving women, signed in 2015, is less important than “Japan’s official apology for the matter.”

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