Trump begins life as President-elect with a flurry of long distance calls

Enda Kenny was one of the first to offer his congratulations to the future president however he also had conversations with the leaders of Israel, Britain, Japan and South Korea

Trump begins life as President-elect with a flurry of long distance calls

A TV screen shows pictures of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, right, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at the Seoul Railway Station in South Korea. 10/11/2016. Image: Ahn Young-joon AP/Press Association Images

Donald Trump’s first day as President-elect of the United States has involved a flurry of contacts with leaders around the world.

This afternoon the future American President met with President Obama in the Oval Office to discuss a "peaceful transition of power."

Yesterday however, the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny was one of the first to offer his congratulations following Trump’s shock victory, with a St Patrick’s Day invite to the White House hailed as a “very important” indication of the strength of the bond between Ireland and America.

British Prime Minister, Theresa May also got her chance to talk to the President-elect this afternoon – but only after he had spoken to the leaders of South Korea, Japan, Egypt, Australia, India, Turkey, Israel and Mexico.

The President-elect told Mrs May the UK was a "very, very special place for me and for our country."

A Downing Street spokesman said Trump set out his "close and personal connections with, and warmth for, the UK," while Mrs May stressed the importance of Britain's relationship with the US in the wake of the Brexit vote.

Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the Republican nominee’s victory in a video published to YouTube, calling him, “a true friend of the state of Israel.”

Trump has caused controversy by promising to overturn decades of US foreign policy by recognising Jerusalem as the Israel’s capital and moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv.

David Friedman, one of Trump’s main advisers on Israel and the Middle East told the Jerusalem Post he intends to follow through on the promise.

While it remains unclear what the two leaders actually agreed in a later phone conversation; a statement from Netanyahu’s office said the Israeli has been invited to a meeting in the US, “at the earliest opportunity.”

Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was the world’s first leader to contact the President-elect following his victory, with the middle-eastern leader voicing his hope that the new regime will “inject new life” into Egyptian/American relations.

A call with South Korean President Park Geun-hye may provide a better illustration of how the attitudes of Trump as President-elect may differ from those he held as a presidential candidate.

During the campaign he said he would be willing to withdraw US military troops stationed in South Korea unless Seoul agreed to shoulder a greater share of the financial burden of the deployment.

There are about 28,500 U.S. troops based in South Korea in combined defence against North Korea and according to the President Park, Trump has now pledged his commitment to defending South Korea.

A statement from the South Korean premier said Trump had pledged to remain, “steadfast and strong with respect to working with you to protect against the instability in North Korea."

As a candidate, Trump had also repeatedly upbraided Japan for not paying what he called “its fair share” to support American military bases and again warned he may withdraw troops unless Japan agreed to increase spending.

The American had also threatened to block the potential Trans-Pacific Partnership - a trade deal between the US and several Asian countries, including Japan.

In his call with prime minister Shinzo Abe, Trump reportedly called a strong Japan-US alliance, “an indispensable presence that supports peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.”

Japanese deputy chief cabinet secretary, Koichi Hagiuda said the two leaders did not discuss the trade deal or Trump’s calls for Japan to take on more of the cost of US military deployment, however a meeting has been scheduled for next Thursday when Mr. Abe will be travelling through New York on his way to Peru.

Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull described his call with Trump as “frank, constructive and practical.”

"We discussed the vital importance of the United States' continued strong presence in our region," he said.

The Australian said he was confident Trump will maintain US influence in the Asia Pacific region calling it "manifestly in America's national interest" to do so.

"The ties that bind Australia and the United States are strong, profound, they’re based on the experience, on the engagement of millions of Australians and Americans,” he said.

“Above all they are based on our enduring national interests. Americans know they have no better ally, no better friend, than Australia.” 

Trump also held phone conversations with the leaders of Mexico, Turkey and India.