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Seoul and US defense, foreign affairs chiefs stress close cooperation

The South Korean and US defense and foreign affairs chiefs reaffirmed the need for close cooperation between the two countries in resolving North Korean nuclear issues.

According to Seoul’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held their first telephone conversation on Saturday.

In the conversation, Kang briefed Pompeo on the results of the inter-Korean summit, and discussed plans for a South Korea-US summit meeting in the near future. 

Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Kyung-wha attends a forum in Seoul on Wednesday. Yonhap
Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Kyung-wha attends a forum in Seoul on Wednesday. Yonhap

According to the Foreign Ministry, Kang also stressed the need for Seoul and Washington to work closely together to facilitate the success of the US-North Korea summit. The ministry added that Kang and Pompeo agreed to arrange a ministerial meeting.

Ahead of Kang’s conversation with Pompeo, South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo and his US counterpart James Mattis had confirmed their commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula during a phone conversation, Pentagon Chief Spokesperson Dana White said.

In the talks Friday, the two reaffirmed a diplomatic solution to the North‘s nuclear issues by sticking to the common goal of achieving the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea, which was reflected in multiple United Nations Security Council Resolutions.

While discussing and reviewing the Panmunjeom Declaration, they reiterated mutual efforts to continue close coordination on the diplomatic front.

White said Mattis also reaffirmed the “ironclad US commitment” to defend its ally South Korea using “the full spectrum of US capabilities.”

In a press release Sunday, Seoul’s Ministry of National Defense said that Mattis said the inter-Korean summit marked an important step toward the peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia, and laid a firm groundwork for a successful US-North Korean summit.

Song emphasized he would keep close consultation with his counterpart on various issues, including soon-to-be-held military talks, for easing tension and building mutual trust.

He separately briefed Vincent Brooks, the commanding general of US Forces Korea, on the general mood of the summit and detailed summit results, according to government sources.

Meanwhile, the Joint Chief of Staff said its Chairman Jeong Kyeong-doo also talked Saturday with his US counterpart Joseph Dunford on security conditions and military cooperation.

By Choi He-suk and news reports (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)
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