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Military chiefs of S. Korea, U.S., Japan vow to strengthen cooperation

Defense 14:24 April 30, 2021

By Choi Soo-hyang

SEOUL, April 30 (Yonhap) -- The top uniformed officers of South Korea, the United States and Japan held talks in Hawaii and vowed to strengthen their trilateral cooperation amid concerns over North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said Friday.

During the talks held Thursday (Hawaii time), South Korea's JCS Chairman Gen. Won In-choul, Gen. Mark Milley of the U.S. and Gen. Koji Yamazaki of Japan shared concerns over the North's nuclear and missiles programs and discussed the "importance of promoting a rules-based international order in the region," according to the military.

Won stressed that the three countries' cooperation is crucial for peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and in the Northeast Asia region, while Milley reaffirmed the U.S.' "ironclad commitment" to defend its two allies.

Milley reaffirmed that "the U.S. remains prepared to provide extended deterrence guaranteed by the full spectrum of U.S. military capabilities," JCS said.

Yamazaki underlined the importance of trilateral cooperation for the implementation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

"They agreed to continue working together to address mutual security issues and increase multilateral cooperation in order to enhance peace and stability in the region," the military said in a release.

It was Won's first face-to-face trilateral talks with Milley and Yamazaki since his inauguration in September last year. The three last met via a videoconference in November.

Thursday's meeting was also attended by outgoing U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Commander Adm. Phil Davidson; his successor Adm. John Aquilino; and U.S. Forces Japan Commander Lt. Gen. Kevin Schneider. U.S. Forces Korea Commander Gen. Robert Abrams joined via a video link.

During his stay, Won is also scheduled to have separate talks with Milley and other senior U.S. military officials to enhance alliance cooperation and will return home Monday after attending the change-of-command ceremony of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii.

Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) Chairman Gen. Won In-choul (2nd from R) poses for a photo with his U.S. and Japanese counterparts, Gen. Mark Milley (C) and Gen. Koji Yamazaki (2nd from L), along with outgoing U.S. Indo-Pacific Command commander Adm. Philip Davidson (1st from R) and his successor Adm. John Aquilino (1st from L) in Hawaii on April 29, 2021, in this photo provided by the military. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

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