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(LEAD) Trump says he gave N.K. leader direct phone number to call

All Headlines 23:15 June 15, 2018

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead; ADDS more details in para 8 and 11; MINOR edits; RESTRUCTURES)

WASHINGTON, June 15 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Donald Trump said Friday he gave North Korean leader Kim Jong-un a direct phone number to reach him and that he plans to make a phone call to Kim.

"I can now call him. I gave him a very direct number," he told reporters at the White House. "He can now call me if he has any difficulty. We have communication."

His remarks come days after his first and historic encounter in Singapore with the leader of the reclusive state on Tuesday.

Trump also said he plans to personally call Kim on Sunday.

Trump and Kim declared in a joint text following the summit their commitment toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula while guaranteeing the security of Kim's dynastic regime.

Regarding the summit outcome, Trump highlighted that he got "everything" in the deal and has "largely solved" North Korea's nuclear problem, in an apparent bid to spurn worries raised among Democrats that his encounter with Kim lacked details as to how to remove its nuclear and missile programs advanced enough to reach the United States.

"I have solved that problem ... that problem is largely solved," he said.

Trump also defended his decision not to take up the issue of Pyongyang's human rights abuses with Kim during the summit, arguing that he did so because preventing a nuclear war is a more pressing matter.

He added that North Korea has begun returning the remains of U.S. soldiers missing during the 1950-53 Korean War, which was part of their Singapore agreement.

"They are already starting to produce the remains of these great soldiers," he said.

Nearly 1.8 million American troops participated in the 1950-53 conflict. Of them, 33,686 were killed and 3,737 went missing.


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