S.Korea, US to hold talks on alliance, N.Korea

The defence chiefs of South Korea and the US will hold talks in Washington DC on Friday (July 29) to discuss security on the Korean Peninsula and deterrence against evolving North Korean threats.

South Korean Defence Minister Lee Jong-sup and his counterpart, Lloyd Austin, are scheduled to meet Friday, as the allies have been cranking up security coordination amid speculation Pyongyang could ratchet up tensions by conducting a nuclear test or other provocative acts, Yonhap news agency reported.

It would mark their second in-person meeting in their current capacities, following their first talks on the margins of the Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual security forum in Singapore, in June.

“Through this meeting, (the two sides) plan to exchange their assessments about the security situation on the peninsula and have a wide-range of discussions on various alliance issues, including efforts to enhance the enforceability of extended deterrence,” the South Korean Defence Ministry said in a press release.

Amid growing North Korean nuclear and missile threats, Seoul has been striving to ensure and strengthen the enforceability of extended deterrence, America’s stated commitment to using a full range of its military capabilities, including nuclear options, to defend its Asian ally.

While in the US, Lee plans to attend Wednesday’s ceremony celebrating the completion of the Wall of Remembrance, a Korean War monument bearing the names of 36,634 US troops and 7,174 members of the Korean Augmentation to the US Army who died during the 1950-53 conflict.

Lee will also visit the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington to express his appreciation to war veterans and hold separate meetings with former US Forces Korea commanders and officials from major US think tanks.

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