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S. Korean defense chief, U.S. commander vow strong cooperation for N.K. denuclearization

North Korea 15:53 October 20, 2020

SEOUL, Oct. 20 (Yonhap) -- Defense Minister Suh Wook and Adm. Phil Davidson, commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, discussed the security situation on the Korean Peninsula Tuesday and vowed a stronger combined readiness posture to support diplomacy to denuclearize North Korea, Seoul's defense ministry said.

The U.S. commander arrived here Monday for a two-day visit as part of his trip to Asia.

South Korean Defense Minister Suh Wook (L) and Adm. Phil Davidson (R), commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, hold talks in Seoul on Oct. 20, 2020, in this photo provided by the defense ministry. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

During the meeting in Seoul, Suh and Davidson "shared the importance of the command's role for the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the establishment of a permanent peace, and agreed to maintain a strong combined defense posture to militarily support diplomatic efforts made jointly by the two nations," according to the ministry.

North Korea is believed to have continued to advance its nuclear and missile capabilities amid stalled denuclearization talks with the U.S. During a massive military parade held earlier this month, the regime unveiled a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).

The two sides also discussed regional security circumstances and a variety of alliance issues, the ministry noted.

Suh expressed gratitude for the command's role in the repatriation of remains of South Korean troops killed during the 1950-53 Korean War from Hawaii in June.

Davidson said that South Korea's response to the new coronavirus has greatly contributed to the stable stationing of the U.S. Forces Korea, according to the ministry.

Prior to the meeting with Suh, the U.S. commander met with Gen. Won In-choul, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and discussed key issues of mutual interest, it added.

Earlier in the day, Davidson also met with U.S. Ambassador to Seoul Harry Harris and "talked about the U.S.-ROK alliance," the ambassador tweeted. ROK is the acronym of South Korea's official name, the Republic of Korea.

The commander is scheduled to leave for Japan later in the day before returning to Hawaii, according to officials.

This image captured from Korean Central Television footage on Oct. 10, 2020, shows North Korea's new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which was displayed during a military parade held in Pyongyang to mark the 75th founding anniversary of the ruling Workers' Party. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

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