US, South Korea discuss coordinated response against North Korea: White House

S. Korea Nears Raising Missile Payload

The latest Trump-Moon conversation occurred three days after a North Korean intermediate-range ballistic missile flew high over Japan.

The United States has sent its strategic assets to South Korea as a show of force after North Korea's provocative acts, but a possible rotational deployment is expected to put significant pressure on the North Korean leadership.

"Mr. Trump is not a model of consistency, so I wouldn't read too much" into what he tweeted and what he reportedly agreed upon with Moon, said Sue Mi Terry, formerly a Central Intelligence Agency analyst and National Security Council director for Korea and Japan.

Calls are also mounting in the South for Seoul to build nuclear weapons of its own to defend itself as nuclear-armed North Korea's missile stand-off with the U.S. escalates.

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President Donald Trump, who has warned that the US military is "locked and loaded" in case of North Korean provocation, reacted angrily to the latest missile test, declaring on Twitter that "talking is not the answer" to resolving the crisis over North Korea's weapons programs.

It came as the United States and South Korean forces were nearing the end of the 10-day annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian joint exercises, which the North regards as a rehearsal for invasion.

Moon and U.S. President Donald Trump spoke by telephone Friday, officials in Washington and Seoul said.

Friday night, the White House released a readout of the phone call between the two leaders, saying Trump provided a conceptual approval of the sale of billions of dollars' worth of American military equipment to South Korea.

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Under a bilateral agreement with the United States, Seoul is now restricted to ballistic missiles with a maximum range of 800 kilometres (500 miles) and payload of 500 kilogrammes (1100 pounds).

Calls are also mounting in South Korea for Seoul to build nuclear weapons of its own to defend itself as nuclear-armed North Korea's missile stand-off with the USA escalates. Japanese Prime Shinzo Abe said he and visiting British Prime Minister Theresa May agreed to urge China, North Korea's lone major ally, to do more to rein in North Korea. Thousands of U.S. soldiers are stationed in South Korea and Japan.

A US ban on travel by Americans to North Korea comes into effect on Friday, a step announced after the death of a USA student shortly after his release from a 15-year prison sentence in the country, where three other Americans are still detained.

North Korea fires 'several projectiles' into Sea of Japan
Pacific Command says its assessments indicate that the three missiles failed. It's the second major tourist event North Korea has canceled this year.

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