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(LEAD) Defense chiefs of S. Korea, U.S. reaffirm commitment to alliance

All News 10:30 October 08, 2020

(ATTN: CHANGES dateline; UPDATES with reports of readout from U.S. Department of Defense in last 3 paras)

SEOUL/WASHINGTON, Oct. 8 (Yonhap) -- Defense Minister Suh Wook and U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper held phone talks on Thursday and reaffirmed their commitment to a strong alliance and a firm combined defense posture, the defense ministry said.

The call marked the first talks between the two since Suh took office as defense minister last month.

"The two ministers reaffirmed the importance of strengthening the ironclad South Korea-U.S. alliance and closely cooperating on defense issues," the ministry said in a release.

Esper congratulated Suh on his inauguration and expressed expectations for their Security Consultative Meeting slated to take place in Washington on Wednesday.

The planned visit will be Suh's first overseas trip as South Korea's defense chief. It will also be the first time for a South Korean defense minister to visit a foreign country since February, due to the new coronavirus.

In Washington, the Pentagon released a similar readout, saying the two sides "pledged to continue cooperation and to deepen and develop the ROK-U.S. Alliance in a future-oriented and mutually reinforcing manner."

Defense Minister Suh Wook holds phone talks with U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in Seoul on Oct. 8, 2020, in this photo provided by his office. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


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