- The Washington Times - Friday, February 2, 2018

President Trump discussed North Korea in separate phone calls Friday with the leaders of South Korea and Japan, emphasizing the need to compel Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons.

The White House said Mr. Trump thanked Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for Japan’s efforts “to maintain international pressure on North Korea, including recent efforts to clamp down on North Korea’s attempts to circumvent sanctions in the waters surrounding the Korean Peninsula.”

Recent reports have targeted Russia for facilitating shipments of coal to North Korea in violation of United Nations sanctions.

Mr. Trump and Mr. Abe “agreed on the need to intensify the international maximum pressure campaign to denuclearize North Korea,” the White House said.

In a separate call with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Mr. Trump discussed the importance of improving the human rights situation in North Korea.

The president also wished Mr. Moon and the people of South Korea a successful winter Olympics. The games begin Feb. 9.

Mr. Trump reiterated his comment to addressing the U.S. trade imbalance with South Korea. A second round of negotiations on their free-trade deal took place this week.

With the Japanese prime minister, the president also discussed the pending relocation of a U.S. Marine base on Okinawa and “ways to strengthen Japan’s defense capabilities including an expanded missile defense system,” the White House said.

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