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Saturday, November 19, 2016, 11:48

Trump's adviser vows to tackle DPRK nuclear threat

By Reuters
Trump's adviser vows to tackle DPRK nuclear threat
Michael Flynn, newly appointed National Security Advisor for US President Donald Trump, leaves Trump Tower in New York City on Nov 18, 2016. ( Eduardo Munoz Alvarez / AFP)

SEOUL - US President-elect Donald Trump's national security adviser says the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) nuclear program would be given a high priority under the new administration, a Republic of Korea (ROK) official who held talks with him said on Saturday.

Michael Flynn, one of Trump's closest advisers, also said he would work to strengthen the US alliance with ROK, calling the relationship "vital," the South's deputy presidential national security adviser Cho Tae-yong was quoted as saying by Yonhap news agency.

Trump pledged his commitment to defend ROK under an existing security alliance during a phone call with ROK President Park Geun-hye

Cho was leading a ROK delegation to the United States to meet with key advisers to the president-elect to discuss the two countries' response to the North's pursuit of nuclear weapons in defiance of international sanctions.

Cho spoke to ROK reporters in Washington following the meeting with Flynn, Yonhap said.

Flynn is a retired Army lieutenant general and a military intelligence veteran of three decades who has championed Trump's promises to take a more aggressive approach to terrorism. His appointment as national security adviser this week does not require Senate confirmation.

The DPRK conducted its fourth and fifth nuclear tests this year under young leader Kim Jong-un, who has vowed to build a nuclear arsenal and ballistic missiles to deliver them.

The UN Security Council has held discussions to adopt a toughened new sanctions resolution following the DPRK's Sept 9 nuclear blast.

US President Barack Obama has been criticized by Congressional Republicans that his policy of "strategic patience" was a failure and that he must make full use of sanctions authorities given to him by Congress.

Trump pledged his commitment to defend ROK under an existing security alliance during a phone call with ROK President Park Geun-hye , Yonhap said last week.

Trump had suggested during the election campaign he would be willing to withdraw US military stationed in ROK unless Seoul paid a greater share of the cost of the deployment. There are about 28,500 US troops based in ROK in combined defence against DPRK.

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