US Navy Secretary meets S Korean Defence Minister

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Seoul, Aug 20 (IANS) South Korea’s Defence Minister held a meeting with the US Secretary of Navy here to discuss potential threats from the North Korea and ways to increase countermeasures, according to the Ministry of National Defence.

Defence Minister Han Min-koo met US Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus at the headquarters of the Defence Ministry in Seoul on Friday, Yonhap news agency reported.

“Minister Han called for a closer consultation between Seoul and Washington amid the rapidly changing situation around the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia,” a ministry spokesman said.

The US naval official said the bilateral alliance between the Republic of Korea-US is one of the strongest and it should play a pivotal role in keeping peace and stability in Northeast Asia.

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The meeting came amid ever-growing nuclear and missile threats from North Korea. The North conducted its fourth nuclear test in January and long-range rocket launch the following month.

The naval official also met South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) Chairman General Lee Sun-jin and Navy Chief of Staff Administration Jung Ho-sup, the ministry said.

On the same day, US Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley met his South Korean counterpart Jang Jun-kyu to discuss pending issues, including the planned deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system in Seongju by 2017.

On August 13, US Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning visited South Korea to check on the preparations to move more PAC-3 Patriot systems into the country to better counter North Korea’s missile threats.

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