WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement Tuesday after exit polls and media outlets projected that Moon Jae-in was elected president of South Korea. Ahead of official certification, Mr. Moon has also claimed victory and his opponents have conceded defeat:
“I would like to congratulate Moon Jae-in on his election as president of the Republic of Korea. By successfully holding this unprecedented election under complicated circumstances, South Koreans have once again demonstrated to the world that their country is a vibrant democracy with a robust civil society and strong institutions.
“Our alliance with the Republic of Korea is one of the most important relationships the United States has in the world today, nurtured by shared sacrifice, common values, and mutual security and economic interests.
“In the short-term, there should be no question that even during a period of governmental transition our commitment to the safety and security of the Korean people will endure, across the full range of necessary defensive measures to counter North Korean aggression and capabilities, including the THAAD missile defense system.
“Longer-term, many challenges and opportunities lie ahead for our great alliance. And, I look forward to working with President-elect Moon to more closely cooperate on a number of issues pertinent to the security and well-being of both our peoples, including resolving the North Korea situation diplomatically.
“I also call on President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to further deepen our nations’ trilateral cooperation – such a strengthening of our partnership would be a critical part of bringing additional security and stability to the region.
“I once again congratulate President-elect Moon and look forward to working with him as we strengthen our alliance to help our peoples live in peace and security.”