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Trump rang 'friend' Moon for election win congrats: Cheong Wa Dae

All News 15:33 April 19, 2020

By Lee Chi-dong

SEOUL, April 19 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Donald Trump made his latest call to South Korean President Moon Jae-in primarily to congratulate his "friend" on an election victory last week, Cheong Wa Dae said Sunday.

Throughout their half-hour phone talks Saturday night (Seoul time), Trump repeatedly congratulated Moon on his Democratic Party's crushing win in the April 15 parliamentary elections, according to Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kang Min-seok.

"President Trump used the expression 'friend' for President Moon and said the only purpose of his call was to offer congratulations," Kang told reporters.

Their conversation then moved on naturally to such other topics as the coronavirus response, related cooperation and the North Korea issue, he added.

Kang earlier issued a press statement summing up the results of the second Moon-Trump phone summit in less than a month.

But he gave some more details on the background of the talks amid continued media speculation on the reason for the call.

Cheong Wa Dae also released photos showing Trump signing a congratulatory message for Moon at his office, which reads "Congratulations-A great win!" The White House delivered the pictures through the South Korean Embassy in Washington, D.C.

U.S. President Donald Trump puts his signature on a congratulatory note for South Korean President Moon Jae-in on an election win at the White House on April 18, 2020, in this photo delivered to the South Korean Embassy in Washington, D.C., and released by Cheong Wa Dae. (Yonhap) (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE)
U.S. President Donald Trump's handwritten message on a graphic showing an election victory by South Korea's ruling party in a photo delivered to Cheong Wa Dae through the South Korean Embassy in Washington, D.C. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

In the phone conversation, Trump talked about a "nice note" he received from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, a Cheong Wa Dae official said later on the condition of anonymity. He would not elaborate, however, saying it's not appropriate for Cheong Wa Dae to do so.

Although they reaffirmed a principled agreement to provide North Korea with humanitarian assistance related to COVID-19, there was no new meaningful proposal or accord, he added.

A precondition for quarantine cooperation and humanitarian aid is Pyongyang's positive response, which is still absent, he stressed.

The pending alliance issue of splitting the financial burden for American troops in South Korea was not raised either, the official said.

Trump, meanwhile, thanked Moon for South Korea's supply of virus test kits and asked if it needs U.S. respirators for patients. Moon replied that his government would request them if necessary.


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