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(4th LD) Moon, Biden agree to cooperate closely on N. Korean nuke issue in phone call

All News 14:39 November 12, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with details in paras 12-18, 20)
By Lee Chi-dong and Chang Dong-woo

SEOUL, Nov. 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his incoming U.S. counterpart, Joe Biden, agreed to work closely together to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue, as they had a 14-minute phone conversation Thursday, Cheong Wa Dae said.

Biden described South Korea as a "linchpin" of security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region, according to Moon's spokesman Kang Min-seok.

Moon asked Biden to "communicate closely" for the forward-looking development of the Seoul-Washington alliance, denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and establishment of lasting peace here.

The president cited the allies' 70 years of partnership for the protection of such shared values as democracy and human rights, Kang said.

Biden reaffirmed Washington's firm security commitment to South Korea and said that he would "closely cooperate" for a resolution to the North Korean nuclear issue, he added.

They also agreed to expand cooperation on global challenges, including COVID-19 and climate change, and agreed to meet at an early date after Biden's inauguration, Kang said.

It marked their first conversation since Biden was declared the winner of last week's election.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (L) makes a phone call with U.S. President-elect Joe Biden at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Nov. 12, 2020 in this photo released by his office. An Associate Press file photo (R) shows Biden. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Moon took note of Biden's visit to the Korean War Memorial in Philadelphia on Veterans Day.

While praising Seoul's efforts to contain new coronavirus transmissions, Biden said he will do his best to contain the coronavirus in the U.S. before the official launch of his administration.

Moon earlier wrote on Twitter that he and Biden "reaffirmed our firm commitment to a robust ROK-US alliance and peaceful and prosperous Korean Peninsula." ROK is the acronym for South Korea's official name, the Republic of Korea.

He added, "Going forward, I will work closely with him to meet global challenges, including COVID-19 and climate change."

Moon also mentioned Biden's connection with late former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung.

It's been reported that Biden and Kim communicated closely during the 1980s when Kim, recipient of the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize, fought for democracy in South Korea.

Moon said, "South Korean people are well aware that President-elect Biden worked hard to advance South Korea's democracy during his days at the U.S. Senate."

According to Cheong Wa Dae, Biden expressed gratitude for Moon's remarks.

Moon also reportedly quoted a poem by Irish poet Seamus Heaney, whose work was referenced during Biden's presidential candidacy acceptance speech at the U.S. Democratic National Convention in August.

Last December, Bono, leader of Irish rock band U2, presented Moon with a collection of Heaney's poetry, with the author's signature, when the singer visited Cheong Wa Dae.

A Cheong Wa Dae official said Moon and Biden did not talk about the protracted diplomatic dispute between South Korea and Japan or Seoul Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee's bid for the leadership of the World Trade Organization.

Biden reportedly spoke by phone with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on the day as well, following calls with Canadian and European leaders.

A screenshot of South Korean President Moon Jae-in's social media post on Nov. 12, 2020, describing his telephone conversation with U.S. President-elect Joe Biden. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Meanwhile, members of Cheong Wa Dae's National Security Council's standing committee discussed the developments of the American presidential election and the means to sustain and further develop the South Korea-U.S. relationship based on the bilateral alliance.

The session was presided over by Suh Hoon, director of national security at Cheong Wa Dae.

The members also discussed measures to "achieve lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula and its denuclearization," according to Cheong Wa Dae.



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