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Moon, Biden to map out ‘comprehensive’ N. Korea strategy together

President Moon Jae-in speaks during a live interview with public broadcaster KBS at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on May 9, a day before the second anniversary of his taking office. (Yonhap) Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

SEOUL/WASHINGTON D.C., Feb 4, 2021, Yonhap. The leaders of South Korea and the United States agreed Thursday to draw up a joint “comprehensive” strategy on North Korea during their phone talks, Cheong Wa Dae announced, Yonhap News Agency reported.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden also agreed to work together for the shared goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and bringing lasting peace to the region, according to Moon’s spokesman Kang Min-seok.

Moon proposed that the two sides make joint efforts to advance the denuclearization and peace-building process in the half-hour conversation, according to Kang.

Biden pledged close cooperation to achieve the aim, saying it is important for the allies to maintain the same position on the matter, Kang added.

The unified stance raises expectations for Seoul-Washington consultations on Pyongyang to gain pace under the new American administration.

Biden’s aides stated a push for a new approach toward the Kim Jong-un regime away from that of the Trump administration.

Moon and Biden reaffirmed that the Seoul-Washington alliance, which has lasted for seven decades, is the key to regional peace and prosperity. They agreed to develop it as a “comprehensive and strategic” alliance to contribute to promoting democracy, human rights and multilateralism in the world, beyond the peninsula and the Indo-Pacific region.

On Japan, they shared the view that an improvement in Seoul-Tokyo relations is crucial, as well as the strengthening of trilateral security partnerships, Kang said.

They also exchanged opinions on other regional security issues, including those related to Myanmar and China.

“In particular, they shared concerns about the recent situations in Myanmar and agreed to cooperate for a democratic, peaceful resolution,” the Cheong Wa Dae official said, referring to a military coup there.

Moon and Biden agreed to hold their summit as soon as the COVID-19 situation is stabilized, he added.

In a separate statement, the White House said the leaders agreed to closely cooperate on North Korea.

“The two leaders agreed to closely coordinate on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” it said, using the official name of North Korea. Biden’s call with Moon was to stress his commitment to strengthening the alliance, which is the “linchpin” for peace and prosperity in Northeast Asia, it noted.

“They also agreed on the need for the immediate restoration of democracy in Burma,” it added. “The two Presidents discussed a range of global issues critical to both our nations and agreed to work together to address shared challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.” The U.S. government still calls the Southeast Asian nation Burma.

It was their first phone call since Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration.

“I just had a great conversation with President @JoeBiden @POTUS. I welcomed ‘America’s return’ in the midst of mounting global challenges such as COVID-19, climate change and economic polarization,” Moon wrote on his social networking accounts shortly after the talks.

Moon and Biden had their previous phone conversation on Nov. 12 following Biden’s presidential election victory. They agreed to cooperate closely to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue. Biden called South Korea a “linchpin” of security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.

Since taking office, Biden has spoken over the phone with the leaders of such nations as Canada, Mexico, Britain, Russia and Japan.

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