President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump are completely on the same page on how to deal with North Korea, Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon said Tuesday, after a Trump tweet spurred speculation the two leaders might be at odds with each other.
In the tweet following North Korea's sixth nuclear test, Trump said, "South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work." The remark was seen as criticism of Moon's call for bringing the North back to the negotiating table.
That sparked speculation that Moon may be at odds with Trump over how to deal with the North.
But Lee rejected such views.
"There is no disagreement whatsoever between the leaders of South Korea and the United States," Lee said during a three-way meeting of officials of the administration, the ruling Democratic Party and the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.
"The leaders of the South and the U.S. are working substantially and closely together, including lifting the restrictions on the weight of missile payloads," he said. "Their cooperation is not a rhetorical one, but action-backed substantial cooperation."
Earlier in the day, Moon and Trump spoke by phone and reached the missile payload agreement that freed Seoul from the decades-old restriction to help the country cope better with ever-growing threats from North Korea.
The missile limit was first established in 1979 as the U.S. sought to limit Seoul's missile capabilities so as to curb a regional arms race. The deal, known as "Missile Guideline," was last revised in 2012 to limit the maximum payload weight at under 500 kilograms with a maximum range of 800 kilometers.
Lee also said that senior officials of the South and the U.S., including their foreign ministers and national security advisers, are also cooperating closely in real time, and the country has also been having discussions with Japan, China and Russia at the right timing.
Lee said the government is taking the current situation as very grave.
"We will smash North Korea's illusion through the alliance with the U.S. and cooperation with the international community," he said. "We are going to be sharing all security-related information between the administration, the party and Cheong Wa Dae." (Yonhap)