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US, S.Korean Presidents to Strengthen Joint Military Capability

© AFP 2021 / KIM JAE-HWANUS and South Korean marines carrying out drills. File photo.
US and South Korean marines carrying out drills. File photo. - Sputnik International
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The White House reported that Donald Trump and Moon Jae-in agreed to strengthen joint military capabilities in light of the growing nuclear crisis on Korean peninsula.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in agreed in phone talks on Monday to strengthen joint military capabilities in light of the growing nuclear crisis on Korean peninsula, the White House said in a statement.

According to the statement obtained by Sputnik, Trump also "conceptually approved" the purchase of billions of dollars worth of US military equipment by South Korea to counter the alleged North Korean threat.

Earlier in the day, South Korea's Defense Ministry reportedly announced decision to install four more launchers of US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense systems at the former golf course in  southeastern city of Seongju, where two launchers were already deployed.

The South Korean Environment Ministry said, also on Monday, that it had conditionally approved THAAD deployment, thus giving the go-ahead to the systems' transition to full operation.

Julian Assange, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of WikiLeaks speaks via video link during a press conference on the occasion of the ten year anniversary celebration of WikiLeaks in Berlin, Germany, October 4, 2016. - Sputnik International
US Provoking Conflict With North Korea to Justify THAAD Deployment - Assange
In May, White House national security adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster told his South Korean counterpart that the United States would continue paying for THAAD, although Trump earlier indicated that he had suggested to Seoul that it should pay for the system which costs about $1 billion.

The United States and South Korea have recently demonstrated their military capabilities in joint drills held in the South Korea’s northeastern province of Gangwon.

According to Monday's statement, the US president also reiterated his "in-principle approval" for South Korea's plan to lift restrictions on their missile payload capabilities.

Under the current bilateral treaty, Seoul's ballistic missiles are confined to range of 500 miles and weight of 1,100 pounds.

The tensions on the Korean Peninsula have been high over recent months over Pyongyang's repeated nuclear and missile tests. On Sunday, North Korea said that it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb that could be loaded on an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Pyongyang's presumed sixth nuclear test since 2006 was held Sunday, just days after North Korea launched a ballistic missile over the territory of Japan. North Korea has been carrying out its missile and nuclear tests in violation of the UNSC resolutions.

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