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U.S. defense chief in Seoul for talks over North Korea

All Headlines 15:16 February 02, 2017

SEOUL, Feb. 2 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis on Thursday began his two-day visit to South Korea in his first overseas trip aimed at underscoring the U.S. security commitment to the Asian ally amid growing threats from North Korea.

After landing at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, 70 kilometers south of Seoul, at 12:30 p.m., Mattis headed to the U.S. Forces Korea headquarters in Yongsan, Seoul, according to the defense ministry.

Mattis was briefed by USFK Commander Vincent K. Brooks on security environments around the Korean Peninsula, including North Korea's recent threats that it is close to test-firing an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland, military officials said.

He is scheduled to attend a dinner event arranged by Defense Minister Han Min-koo at a Seoul hotel after meetings with Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn and National Security Office chief Kim Kwan-jin, sources said.

On Friday, Mattis will hold a separate meeting with Han and Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se to discuss the North's nuclear and missile threats, as well as ways to enhance the countries' alliance, the ministry said.

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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