South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump have agreed in a telephone call to remove the limit on the payload of South Korean missiles under the Korea-U.S. missile guideline as a way of increasing deterrence against North Korean provocations, South Korea`s presidential office said on Monday.
The missile guidelines binding from 1979 and revised in 2012 caps South Korean missile warheads at 500 kilograms (0.5 metric tons) and disallows missile to fly beyond 800 kilometers (497 miles). The distance limit won’t be scrapped, said the presidential office.
Moon also decided to complete a temporary full deployment of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) to the Korean peninsula. The flurry of aggressive military move including discussions of deploying U.S. strategic bombers and warships around the peninsula and bringing back tactical nuclear weapons to the South follows North Korea’s most powerful-yet nuclear test on Sunday. Seoul military officials also have detected movement from North Korea preparing a launch of intercontinental ballistic missile.
President Moon held a telephone conversation with U.S. President Donald Trump between 10:45 p.m. and 11:25 p.m. (local time) and discussed countermeasures against North Korea`s sixth nuclear test. In their talks, Moon denounced the North`s latest nuclear test, calling it a serious provocation that violated U.N. Security Council resolutions and challenged the peace and stability of the region, while stressing the importance of sending a strong and clear message to the North. The two leaders agreed to strengthen the alliance through close defense cooperation and to shore up South Korea`s defense capabilities, the presidential office said.
In separate and successive phone calls with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel also on Monday, Moon asked for their cooperation in the adoption of stronger sanctions against North Korea by the U.N. Security Council.
Moon and his Japanese counterpart reaffirmed their view that South Korea, the U.S., and Japan need to further expand their three-way cooperation to apply the highest-level of pressure and sanctions on North Korea.
By Kang Gye-man and Oh Soo-hyun
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