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U.S. defense chief highlights Washington's security commitment to Seoul

All Headlines 18:54 February 02, 2017

SEOUL, Feb. 2 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis on Thursday highlighted Washington's security commitment to Seoul under growing security threats from Pyongyang, saying his country will be "shoulder to shoulder" with its Asian ally.

During his talks with South Korea's Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, Mattis also underscored the "priority" that the Trump administration places on the South Korea-U.S. alliance.

His remarks came amid concerns about possible shifts in the bilateral alliance, which have been triggered by Trump's election-year remarks that showed skepticism about America's security alliances and trade deals with its Asian allies and partners.

"I talked to President Trump and he wanted to make a very clear statement about the priority that we place on the alliance between our two nations," Mattis said.

"Our new administration inherits a very strong, prestigious relationship between our two countries. And it's our commitment to make it even stronger, especially in the face of provocation that you face from the North," he added.

Mattis arrived here earlier in the day for a two-day visit for talks with top Seoul officials, including Defense Minister Han Min-koo.

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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