(ATTN: RECASTS 10th para with meeting taking place; ADDS vice defense chief's bilateral talks with foreign delegates in last 2 paras)
By Oh Seok-min
SEOUL, Oct. 16 (Yonhap) -- Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo and U.S. Pacific Air Forces commander Gen. Charles Brown agreed Wednesday to boost cooperation between the two countries' air forces for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the defense ministry said Wednesday.
The meeting took place in Seoul as Brown was in South Korea to attend the Seoul International Aerospace & Defense Exhibition (ADEX) underway at Seoul Airport in Seongnam, south of Seoul, from Tuesday to Sunday.
"Minister Jeong and Commander Brown shared the understanding that the working-level denuclearization talks between the U.S. and North Korea took place thanks to the strong South Korea-U.S. alliance," the ministry said in a release.
"To support diplomatic efforts for the denuclearization and the establishment of a lasting peace on the peninsula, the two sides agreed to further deepen communications and cooperation between their air forces," it added.
Top nuclear negotiators from North Korea and the U.S. held working-level talks earlier this month in Sweden, the first negotiations since the breakdown of the second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and the North's leader Kim Jong-un in February.
North Korea said the talks broke down, though Washington said the two sides had "good" discussions.
The commander also reaffirmed America's "full and continued backing" for the Korea-U.S. joint readiness posture, according to the ministry.
Earlier in the day, Jeong also met with former U.S. Forces Korea commanders Walter Sharp and Vincent Brooks.
During the meetings in Seoul, Jeong asked for their support for the strengthening of the alliance between the allies, and the former commanders pledged to continue to make such efforts, according to the ministry.
Brown then met with South Korean Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Won In-choul at the exhibition venue, and shared their assessments of security situations in the region and discussed ways to deepen the alliance, according to an Air Force officer.
The biennial ADEX event brought together around 430 defense companies from 34 countries as well as senior foreign delegates, including top-brass air force officers.
The U.S. military sent around 180 service members to the exhibition showcasing its military aircraft such as F-16 fighter jets, which is "a tribute to our continued pledge to promote peace, stability and prosperity on the Korean peninsula," the command said in a release.
Meanwhile, Vice Defense Minister Park Jae-min launched an active defense diplomacy on the sidelines of the defense exhibition on Wednesday.
Park held bilateral meetings with his counterparts from Botswana, Uzbekistan, Paraguay and Greece, as well as Cambodia's army commander, and discussed ways to strengthen military ties and cooperation in defense industries, according to his office.
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