Trump agrees to lift limits on South Korean missile payloads

Trump agrees to lift limits on South Korean missile payloads
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The U.S. and South Korea have agreed to lift limits on South Korea's missile payload capabilities following North Korea's hydrogen bomb test over the weekend, the White House announced Monday.

During a call between President Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-In, Trump "gave his in-principle approval to South Korea’s initiative to lift restrictions on their missile payload capabilities,” the White House said in a readout of the call.

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“President Trump also provided his conceptual approval for the purchase of many billions of dollars’ worth of military weapons and equipment from the United States by South Korea," the statement added.

A spokesman for South Korea’s presidential office confirmed the call Monday, describing the move to lift the limit on the payload of South Korean missiles under U.S.-South Korean guidelines as an "effective" countermeasure, the Yonhap News Agency reported.

The White House said Trump and his South Korean counterpart agreed to "maximize pressure on North Korea using all means at their disposal" after North Korea claimed Sunday that it successfully tested a hydrogen bomb that can be placed on an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

The move by North Korea prompted international condemnation. It represented the sixth nuclear test by the reclusive government and the first since Trump took office.

Trump and the South Korean leader have "pledged to strengthen joint military capabilities" in the wake of the Sunday test, the White House said.

Trump has spoken with several countries’ leaders since North Korea conducted its nuclear test. On Sunday, he spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and emphasized in a call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday that "all options to address the North Korean threat are on the table," the White House said.

“President Trump noted that this latest provocation only serves to increase the international community’s resolve to counter North Korea’s prohibited activities."

Updated: 4:45 p.m.