Go to Contents Go to Navigation

(LEAD) S. Korea defense chief stresses alliance with U.S. amid N.K. threats

All Headlines 14:14 January 13, 2017

(ATTN: ADDS photo)

SEOUL, Jan. 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's defense chief pledged Friday to strengthen the already strong alliance with the United States to ensure peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula amid growing threats from North Korea.

"The security situation on the Korean Peninsula is grave," Defense Minister Han Min-koo said in a meeting with defense experts, citing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's New Year's message.

Kim said in his address that North Korea will firmly push forward nuclear and missile development programs. He set 2017 as the year of perfecting the communist nation's military capabilities. The leader said the country had reached the final stage of preparations to test fire an intercontinental ballistic missile, an apparent warning that it is perfecting the development of an ICBM capable of hitting the U.S. homeland.

Han said maintaining a strong alliance with the U.S. is the key to watertight security of South Korea.

In this photo taken on Jan. 13, 2017, at the defense ministry's headquarters in Seoul, Defense Minister Han Min-koo talks to experts about the rapidly changing security situation on the Korean Peninsula. (Yonhap)

His remarks came after retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, incoming U.S. President Donald Trump's pick for defense secretary, said Thursday the North's nuclear and missile development is "a serious threat and we've got to do something about it."

Mattis said the situation on the Korean Peninsula remains volatile amid the North's provocative statements and actions, including continued development of increasingly sophisticated ballistic missile capabilities and repeated threats to the U.S.

Incoming president Trump also reaffirmed the alliance with South Korea and filled some key posts in his government with people who value the alliance, such as Mattis and incoming National Security Advisor Mike Flynn.

Trump's statements on North Korean nuclear programs and Seoul-Washington alliance are meaningful because they are a "positive sign" for Seoul in seeking a partnership with the new administration over North Korea and strengthening the bilateral alliance, the minister said.

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
(END)

HOME TOP
Send Feedback
How can we improve?
Thanks for your feedback!