U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper is in South
Korea as part of a five-nation trip to the Asia-Pacific region. And he met this morning with his South Korean
counterpart Jeong Kyeong-doo. Kim Ji-yeon reports. Visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper
reaffirmed that the South Korea, U.S. alliance is “iron clad” and serves as the “linchpin”
of peace and security both on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia. He said that the two countries share the same
vision of a peaceful Korean peninsula as well as a free, open Indo-Pacific region. Esper added Washington is willing to engage
diplomatically with Pyeongyang to make progress on all the commitments made in the Singapore
joint statement to achieve the denuclearization of North Korea. But he added that United Nations sanctions
will be strictly enforced until North Korea participates with U.S. allies in achieving
the complete, verifiable, irreversible path of denuclearization. Esper also wanted to acknowledge the progress
made towards the conditions-based transition of the wartime operational control of the
combined forces command from a U.S. commander to a South Korean commander. He said this shows the strength and trust
between the allies that no adversaries can match. The two countries kicked off a preliminary
session on Monday… in the run-up to their summertime command post combined exercise…
meant to test South Korea’s initial operational capability for the envisioned OPCON transfer. Meanwhile, Jeong said Esper’s visit is meaningful
regarding the security situation South Korea currently faces… citing the entry of Chinese
and Russian aircrafts into Korea’s air defense identification zone… as well as a Russian
aircraft trespassing into South Korean airspace. Jeong also said that the series of firings
of short-range ballistic missiles by North Korea are not helping in easing military tensions
on the peninsula… and added Tokyo’s economic retaliatory measures are hurting the three-way
security alliance of South Korea, the U.S. and Japan. Kim Ji-yeon, Arirang News.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *