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Politics

Abe, Trump focus on thwarting Pyongyang's missile plans

South Korea's Moon pledges to prevent a war 'at all costs'

TOKYO -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday agreed to work closely to prevent North Korea from firing off additional missiles, days after Pyongyang threatened to hit the waters off Guam.

Speaking to reporters, Abe described his 30-minute phone call with Trump as a "frank discussion" and said both leaders "agreed that our top priority was to work to ensure that North Korea doesn't launch more missiles."

Last week, Trump warned North Korea that he would unleash "fire and fury" if it further threatened the U.S. The Kim Jong Un regime upped the ante by saying it was developing plans to launch missiles toward Guam, a U.S. territory home to key military installations.

Abe on Tuesday also criticized North Korea's threat, saying it had "raised the regional tension like never before." He and Trump reaffirmed their countries' partnership and resolved to take measures related to surveillance and missile defense.

The two leaders also shared the opinion that China and Russia have important roles to play in applying international pressure on the North. Abe, however, noted that "dialogue for the sake of dialogue is meaningless." 

Earlier the same day, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said his government would step up diplomatic efforts to deal with the North's nuclear and missile programs peacefully.

"The government will prevent a war [on the Korean Peninsula] at all costs," Moon said in a speech marking the anniversary of Japan's defeat in World War II -- a day known as Liberation Day in both Koreas.

"We must peacefully resolve the North Korean nuclear issue no matter how many ups and downs there are," Moon said.

Still, he stressed that North Korea would have to stop stirring the pot first. "North Korea must at least halt its nuclear and missile provocations before conditions for dialogue can be created."

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