US defense chief reiterates commitment to defend S.Korea

Xinhua
US Secretary of Defense James Mattis reaffirmed on Saturday the commitment to defend South Korea, voicing support to diplomatic solution to the Korean Peninsula issue.
Xinhua

US Secretary of Defense James Mattis reaffirmed on Saturday the commitment to defend South Korea, voicing support to diplomatic solution to the Korean Peninsula issue.

Mattis reiterated "the ironclad US commitment" to defend its ally "using the full spectrum of US capabilities" in phone discussion with his South Korean counterpart Song Young-moo on the results of Friday's inter-Korean summit, Pentagon chief spokesperson Dana White said a statement.

The two defense chiefs also expressed commitment to a diplomatic resolution that achieves "complete, verifiable, and irreversible" denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, as reflected in multiple UN Security Council's resolutions, the statement said.

In his conversation with Mattis, Song reviewed the Panmunjom Declaration and the efforts to improve inter-Korean relations while achieving denuclearization.

The Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification of the Korean Peninsula, signed Friday by South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), pledged joint efforts for national reconciliation, denuclearization and lasting peace.

On Friday, Mattis said the United States will discuss with its allies and the DPRK the need for US troops to stay stationed on the peninsula.

The United States "will build, through confidence-building measures, a degree of trust if it's going to go forward," he added, referring to the dialogue with the DPRK on denuclearizing the peninsula.

The US troops have stayed in South Korea ever since the signing of the Korean War armistice treaty in 1953. Bilateral relations are often strained over issues such as defense burden sharing, the US army's harassment of South Korean civilians and Seoul's initiative to take back the war-time command control from Washington, among others.


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