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(LEAD) Seoul's JCS chief meets U.S. counterpart over N.K. threats

All News 11:29 October 13, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS Haney's comment and his past trip to Seoul in 5-6 paras)

SEOUL, Oct. 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) Chairman Gen. Lee Sun-jin discussed ways to bolster deterrence against North Korean threats with top U.S. commanders, Seoul's military said Thursday.

Lee met with Adm. Cecil D. Haney, commander of U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) on Wednesday (U.S. time), to discuss the allies' joint efforts to counter increasing provocations by the North, the JCS said in a statement. He also inspected U.S. strategic assets such as the B-2 stealth bomber and the B-52 strategic bomber.

"Today, by visiting USSTRATCOM we have confirmed that the United States extended deterrence and resolve against North Korea nuclear and missile threat is rock solid," Lee said in the statement. "If provoked, the allies will have North Korea pay the price for its actions."

Haney said the U.S. is fully ready to confront any provocative acts by the communist regime for peace and stability on the peninsula and the region.

"The United States is committed to our alliance with the Republic of Korea. It's a very important alliance for us, and we work very closely with the Republic of Korea military forces," Haney said in a statement released by USSTRATCOM.

In this photo taken on Sept. 13, 2016, Seoul's JCS Chairman Gen. Lee Sun-jin delivers a briefing on the South Korea-U.S. allied forces' commitment to counter North Korean threats after two B-1B strategic bombers flew over Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, 70 kilometers south of Seoul. (Yonhap)

Haney previously visited South Korea in June 2015 for bilateral meetings with local military officials. USSTRATCOM has also hosted Korean military officials for command orientations similar to Lee's visit this week.

USSTRATCOM, one of nine combatant commands of the U.S. Department of Defense, is mainly in charge of missile defense, global strike and strategic deterrence, nuclear weapons operation and combating weapons of mass destruction.

On Thursday, Lee is scheduled to meet his counterpart U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph F. Dunford to analyze the current security status quo on the Korean Peninsula during the 41st military committee meeting (MCM) in Washington D.C., the statement said.

On the sidelines of the MCM meeting, joint chiefs of staff from Seoul, Washington and Tokyo are expected to deliberate on ways to beef up their combined military partnership against growing North Korean nuclear and missile threats, it said.


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