May 11, 2017 3:41 am JST

Moon, Trump agree by phone to work closely on North Korea

Leaders discuss visits, but no mention of controversial anti-missile system

HIROSHI MINEGISHI, Nikkei staff writer

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump © AP

SEOUL -- South Korea's newly sworn-in President Moon Jae-in spoke with U.S. President Donald Trump by phone Wednesday, and both affirmed that they would work closely on issues including the North Korean nuclear problem.

Trump said the Pyongyang issue was difficult, but could be resolved, according to a statement by the South Korean presidency's Blue House.

The call lasted roughly 30 minutes. Moon expressed appreciation for the high priority Trump placed on stopping the North's provocations and halting its nuclear agenda. He added that the American alliance was at the root of Seoul's diplomatic and security policies, and would continue to be so.

Trump also formally invited Moon to the U.S. for talks in the near future, and said he intended to dispatch a top official to South Korea soon to discuss a visit. Moon likewise said once he had dispatched an envoy to the U.S., he would like to meet directly with Trump for a frank exchange of opinions as soon as possible.

The two leaders apparently did not touch on the deployment in South Korea of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-missile system, which Moon criticized during his campaign.

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