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President Moon Jae-in holds two phone calls with his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump, first on Nov. 29 immediately following North Korea’s latest long-range ballistic missile launch and then again on Nov. 30. Pictured is President Moon talking to President Trump at Cheong Wa Dae on Nov. 29. (Cheong Wa Dae)

By Sohn JiAe

President Moon Jae-in had a second phone conversation with his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump, on Nov. 30 to follow-up on how to handle the North Korean regime’s reckless provocation one day earlier.

The call followed the first 20-minute phone call made at 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 29, about five hours after North Korea launched a long-range ballistic missile into the East Sea.

During the hour-long second phone call, which started at 10 p.m. Korea-time, the two leaders spoke more concretely and in more detail about how to handle the North Korean regime’s reckless provocations.

Mentioning the North’s latest statement, which said that its development of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) have reached the stage of completion and that, also, it has finally realized its “great historic cause” of having constructed a national nuclear force, President Moon said, “The missile launched by Pyongyang yesterday seems more advanced than ever before, in all aspects, but the North still needs to prove critical missile technology, such as re-entry, terminal stage guidance and warhead activation.”

“The challenge that we face now is to curb the North’s nuclear missile programs so that the regime cannot further develop its related technology and, ultimately, make Pyongyang abandon its nuclear weapons,” the president stressed.

He went on to say that, “Korea and the U.S.’s combined show of overwhelming force helps to stop Pyongyang from misjudging along the way. In this sense, I’m thankful for the Trump administration that has shown its full support for allowing our country to enhance our own defense capabilities by purchasing U.S.-made state-of-the-art military equipment.”

“In particular, the commencement of discussions between both countries on U.S. military strategic assets being acquired by Korea itself sends a significant message to the North,” he said.

President Trump agreed that Seoul and Washington should respond to the North’s ceaseless provocations based on their firm combined defense readiness. He also expressed his full support for Korea’s efforts to strengthen its military defense by obtaining advanced military assets, while reaffirming the U.S. commitment to protecting Seoul against any threat.

President Moon also mentioned the U.S. government’s recent decision to dispatch a high-ranking delegation to next year’s PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. He said that, “The early announcement of this decision surely assures the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and people from all around the world that the PyeongChang Olympic Games next year will be successful, and at the same time, it sends a strong message to Pyongyang, too.”

jiae5853@korea.kr

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