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Trump, Putin discuss de-escalating North Korea tensions

The presidents of the United States and Russia have discussed means of de-escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

According to Press TV, the White House and the Kremlin said in separate statements that Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin had discussed North Korea during a phone call on Thursday, agreeing to cooperate with one another to resolve a crisis over Pyongyang’s weapons programs.

The White House said the two talked about “working together to resolve the very dangerous situation in North Korea.”

The Kremlin said Trump and Putin discussed North Korea and also reviewed bilateral relations.

North Korea says decades of foreign pressure and threats, manifested in repeated joint military drills by the US and its regional allies, have forced it to pursue a sophisticated weapons program and develop deterrent intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

Washington has long opposed that program, and tensions over Pyongyang’s continuous missile and nuclear development have recently skyrocketed.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently said the US was willing to enter into negotiations with North Korea without preconditions.

The White House, which under Trump has used fiery and sometimes derogatory rhetoric against North Korea, however later contradicted Tillerson by saying time was not right to talk to North Korea.

Following the Trump-Putin phone conversation, the White House also said Trump had thanked Putin “for acknowledging America’s strong economic performance in his annual press conference.”

On Thursday, Putin had commended Trump for his performance in his one year in office and called for cooperation between the two countries on common international issues.