Moon, Trump vow continued effort to ensure successful U.S.-N. Korea summit

SEOUL, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and President Donald Trump spoke by phone on Sunday and exchanged views on making the upcoming U.S.-North Korea summit a success, the presidential office said.

The two leaders talked from 11:30 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. and agreed to work together closely on the historic meeting, Cheong Wa Dae said. Moon is scheduled to hold talks with the U.S. chief executive on Tuesday in Washington.

He is set to head for Washington late Monday and return home early Thursday.

"The two leaders exchanged opinions on various actions taken by North Korea recently," Yoon Young-chan, the senior press secretary to President Moon Jae-in, said in a text message sent to reporters.

The White House said the two presidents spoke to "discuss recent developments in North Korea and to continue their close coordination" ahead of Trump's June 12 meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

"President Trump said he looks forward to continuing their conversation when President Moon visits the White House on May 22," it said in a readout.

Sunday's call is the 15th phone conversation between the two leaders.

The conversation comes amid the North's threats to call off the U.S.-North Korea meeting. North Korea earlier called the June 12 meeting into question when it slammed ongoing military exercises between South Korea and the U.S. as a provocation and an invasion rehearsal.

The North's anger is apparently also a sign of its opposition to the so-called Libya model for its denuclearization. Libya surrendered its weapons of mass destruction program in 2003 in return for sanctions relief, but its then-leader Muammar Gaddafi was toppled from power and killed by NATO-backed rebel forces in 2011.

Experts pointed out that in Sunday's talks, the two leaders affirmed their commitment to the denuclearization of North Korea.

The Seoul-Washington summit meeting, meanwhile, is scheduled three weeks before Trump is due to meet Kim in Singapore.

The latter will be a first for the leaders of the two countries, which have maintained a confrontational stance toward each other since the 1950-53 Korean War.

Leaders of the two Koreas have met three times, most recently on April 27 in the truce village of Panmunjom.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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