Japan

Abe, Trump agree to cooperate with S Korea in reining in N Korea

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday he and U.S President Donald Trump agreed to work together with South Korea in pressing North Korea to abandon its nuclear and missile development programs.

During their telephone talks, Abe also called on Trump to ensure the safety of U.S. military helicopter flights in Okinawa following a series of emergency landings and accidents in the southern Japanese island prefecture, which hosts the bulk of U.S. military facilities in Japan.

In Washington, the White House said in a statement that the two men "agreed on the need to intensify the international maximum pressure campaign to denuclearize North Korea."

The hourlong phone talks came ahead of a visit to Japan on Tuesday by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who will fly on to South Korea to attend the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Abe will also attend the ceremony and meet with South Korean President Moon Jae In on Feb 9.

The prime minister praised Trump's first State of the Union address earlier this week that pledged to continue a U.S.-led maximum pressure campaign on North Korea.

The two leaders agreed that they will urge South Korea to share the need to implement sanctions on Pyongyang with various countries, according to Abe.

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The White House said they also "discussed ways to strengthen Japan's defense capabilities including an expanded missile defense system."

Abe and Trump did not discuss a possible U.S. return to the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal as mentioned by the U.S. leader recently.

The phone talks, which were held at Tokyo's request, were the first since November last year and the longest between the two leaders, according to the Japanese government.

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