Jay Kim, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives from California, said Wednesday South Korea's alliance with the United States will not be affected in the long run, amid concerns that Donald Trump will upset close bilateral ties that have withstood the test of time.
"There's no reason for the Seoul-Washington ties to be damaged," Kim said during an interview with Yonhap News Agency.
Trump has made numerous radical comments about the military alliances between two countries, claiming South Korea needs to pay more for the deployment of U.S. troops to the country. Washington currently has some 28,500 troops in South Korea as a deterrent against North Korean aggression.
"We need to check if Trump made the remark as a candidate, or as a president," Kim pointed out, adding no previous Republican president has made moves to pull U.S. troops from the Korean Peninsula.
Donald Trump (Yonhap)
"Even in South Korea, candidates do not normally implement all of their campaign pledges," Kim pointed out, adding the sharing of the cost of maintaining U.S. troops is currently decided through negotiations between the two countries. Despite what Trump has said in the past, South Korea pays its share for the troop presence, with even U.S. commanders acknowledging the support provided by Seoul.
The former lawmaker, however, said Trump is likely to carry out his pledge to seek a direct dialogue with North Korea.
"(Trump) will not leave (the North Korean nuclear) issue alone as Barack Obama did," Kim said.
Kim moved to the United States in 1961 and became the first Korean-American to be elected as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from California in 1992. He served three terms.
The 77-year-old former lawmaker has been predicting Trump will win the race, even when the media bet on Hillary Clinton.
"Public sentiment cannot be solved like math. It calls for experience and instinct," Kim said. "Trump was not elected because of his achievements. People liked him because they were tired of politicians." (Yonhap)