UPDATE : 2018.2.19 MON 17:47
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Moon, Trump discuss N.K. human rights issue

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump spoke by phone Friday and resolved to work together to address human rights abuses in North Korea, the White House said.

"The two leaders discussed the importance of improving the human rights situation in North Korea and underscored their commitment to work together on this issue," it said in a statement.

Trump is scheduled to meet with a group of North Korean defectors at the White House later in the day.

He also invited a defector, Ji Seong-ho, to his State of the Union address Tuesday, and called out the North Korean regime for its human rights abuses.

Speaking with Moon, Trump wished him and the South Korean people a successful Winter Olympic Games, which kick off in PyeongChang Feb. 9, and "reiterated his commitment to addressing the trade imbalance between the two countries," the statement said.

Negotiations have been under way to amend a bilateral free trade agreement that took effect in 2012.

This compilation image shows South Korean President Moon Jae-in (L), in a file photo provided by his office, Cheong Wa Dae, and U.S. President Donald Trump, in an EPA file photo. (Yonhap)

In a separate statement, the White House said Trump also spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and thanked him for Tokyo's "efforts to maintain international pressure on North Korea."

The Trump administration has led a "maximum pressure" campaign with growing economic and diplomatic sanctions to compel Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

The two leaders agreed on the need to intensify that campaign, and Trump noted Japan's recent efforts to clamp down on North Korean attempts at sanctions evasion, according to the statement. (Yonhap)

Won Hwi  edt@koreapost.com

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