(ATTN: ADDS statement from White House in last 2 paras)
SEOUL, Jan. 23 (Yonhap) -- The top national security officials of South Korea and the United States agreed on the need for close bilateral cooperation in advancing the Korea peace process and the handling of global issues during their phone call Saturday, Cheong Wa Dae said.
It was the first formal conversation between Suh Hoon, director of national security at Cheong Wa Dae, and his new American counterpart, Jake Sullivan, since the launch of the Joe Biden administration this week.
Suh congratulated Sullivan on his inauguration as White House national security adviser, according to Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kang Min-seok.
The two sides reaffirmed the robustness of the two countries' alliance and agreed that it's important to work together not just on regional security issues but also on pending global challenges, such as COVID-19, the economic recovery, climate change and cybersecurity.
Sullivan pointed out that the alliance is a "linchpin" of peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region, Kang added.
The officials also agreed that Seoul and Washington will make joint efforts to attain the goal of denuclearization and lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.
They shared the view that President Moon Jae-in and Biden need to start "communication" at an early date.
Emily Horne, spokesperson of the U.S. National Security Council, also issued a statement on the call, saying Sullivan "stressed the Biden administration's commitment to further strengthening the U.S.-ROK alliance." ROK stands for South Korea's official name, the Republic of Korea.
"They discussed the importance of close coordination on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, as well as on other regional and global challenges including COVID-19 and combating climate change," Horne said in the statement, referring to the North by its official name.
N. Korea's suspension from Olympics augurs ill for Seoul's peace efforts
IOC suspension of N. Korea latest wrinkle in inter-Korean sports cooperation
Hotline restoration raises hopes for inter-Korean summit, resumption of nuclear talks
N. Korea's withdrawal from Tokyo Olympics dampens hope for renewing inter-Korean sports cooperation
Sino-U.S. tensions, tighter China-N.K. ties feared to weaken denuke efforts