Moon Jae-in

Phone diplomacy: South Korean leader Moon Jae-in speaks with Abe, Xi and Trump

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 May, 2017, 3:20pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 May, 2017, 3:20pm

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in spoke on the telephone on Thursday, according to a Japanese official, in their first talks since the latter was sworn in the previous day.

Abe and Moon are likely to have discussed working together to address North Korea, which continues to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles in defiance of UN resolutions.

In a statement released after Moon’s election victory became clear on Tuesday, Abe said he looked forward to cooperating with Moon to “further contribute to peace and prosperity in the region.”

The two leaders could hold their first face-to-face talks in July on the margins of a summit of Group of 20 major economies in Germany.

Watch: Moon Jae-in wins South Korea’s presidency

Moon also spoke with China’s President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump about North Korea tensions.

In their phone call, Trump congratulated Moon on his election victory and his country’s “peaceful, democratic transition of power,” a White House statement said.

Trump wants to tighten an economic vise and has raised the possibility of military force as the North approaches the capability to threaten America with a nuclear-tipped missile. Moon advocates a less confrontational policy. As he took the oath of office Wednesday, Moon said he was open to visiting Pyongyang under the right conditions to discuss its nuclear programme.

The leaders agreed to strengthen their countries’ alliance. Moon accepted Trump’s invitation to visit at an “early date.” No specific timing was set.

Additional reporting by Reuters