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Defense ministers of South Korea and U.S. reaffirm robust alliance

On August 9, Minister of National Defense Jeong Kyeong-doo held talks with U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper at Seoul’s Ministry of National Defense

U.S. Defense Secretary Esper’s first visit to South Korea since taking office 
The two ministers agreed to strengthen their interactions and cooperations to promote stability on Korean Peninsula
The two ministers shared their assessment that OPCON transfer has made considerable progress

reaffirm robust alliance

At their first meeting since Secretary Esper took office, Minister of National Defense Jeong Kyeong-doo and U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper reaffirmed the robust alliance between South Korea and the United States.

 

On August 9, Minister Jeong held South Korea-U.S. defense ministers’ talks with Secretary Esper, who is visiting South Korea, at the Ministry of National Defense in Seoul. The two ministers discussed the security situation on the Korean Peninsula and major pending issues related to the South Korea-U.S. alliance, including the envisioned transfer of wartime operational control (OPCON). 

According to their joint press release, Minister Jeong and Secretary Esper reaffirmed their commitment to supporting diplomatic efforts for the complete denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula and the establishment of a lasting peace, sharing their assessment of the recent security situation in the region. They also agreed to further strengthen interaction and cooperation on the basis of a robust alliance between South Korea and the U.S. in order to maintain stability in and around the peninsula.

Acknowledging the considerable progress made toward the OPCON transfer, the two ministers vowed to discuss the results of the initial operational capability (IOC) test during their Security Consultative Meeting slated for later this year. They also agreed that the OPCON transfer should not only strengthen the Combined Forces Command and the South Korea-U.S. alliance, but also keep contributing to peace and stability in the region as well as elsewhere in the world.

“The two ministers confirmed that sustained and close cooperation is important for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the establishment of peace, and agreed to continue close interaction,” the ministry said. 

In the opening statements before the talks, Jeong emphasized that “In this serious situation, discussing the security environment on the Korean Peninsula and the South Korea-U.S. alliance with Secretary Esper is very meaningful. It will create momentum to reconfirm a South Korea-U.S. combined defense posture and alliance that is stronger than ever before.” He went on to discuss the recent tense security situation on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia, including North Korea’s consecutive launches of new short-range ballistic missiles, Japan’s economic retaliation, and Russian military planes’ intrusion into Korean airspace during the combined drills between China and Russia in the East Sea.

 

Esper also said that his visit to South Korea reaffirms the "ironclad" alliance, which is "the linchpin of peace and security" on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia.

 

By Joo-Hyeong, Lee < jataka@dema.mil.kr >

By Su-Yeol, Maeng <guns13@dema.mil.kr >

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