(ATTN: UPDATES with meeting of top commanders in last 3 paras)
SEOUL, Oct. 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup met with the commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in Seoul on Friday to discuss North Korea's provocations and the Seoul-Washington alliance, Lee's office said.
Lee and Adm. John Aquilino shared the view that the allies have "strongly" responded to North Korea over Pyongyang's latest ballistic missile tests, according to Seoul's defense ministry.
They also agreed to seek close coordination in bolstering the allies' defense posture, it said
South Korea and the U.S. recently staged joint naval exercises involving a nuclear-powered U.S. aircraft carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan, near the Korean Peninsula in a show of force amid Pyongyang's intensified ballistic missile activities.
North Korea has ratcheted up tensions on the peninsula with a string of weapons tests, including the firing of an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan on Tuesday.
Later in the day, Lee presided over a virtual meeting of top military commanders.
Lee stressed the need to demonstrate the "strong" response capabilities of the South Korea-U.S. alliance to send a message to the North that its push to develop nuclear weapons and missiles would only lead Pyongyang to a "difficult" situation, according to the ministry.
He also highlighted the importance of field officers' readiness posture and enlisted troops' mental preparedness while warning against the possibility of surprise tactical provocations by the North.
(LEAD) S. Korea's Coast Guard apprehends 22 Chinese after illegal entry attempt
S. Korea's Coast Guard apprehends 21 Chinese after illegal entry attempt
(LEAD) (Asiad) S. Korea takes 2 silvers in roller skating relays
(2nd LD) S. Korea's Coast Guard apprehends 22 Chinese after illegal entry attempt
(LEAD) Civilian helicopter carrying 1 pilot crashes into reservoir in Pocheon
N. Korea stipulates nuclear force-building policy in constitution
5 years after signing, future of inter-Korean military accord unclear
Kim-Putin summit highlights strategic push to expand cooperation
In desperation, N. Korea, Russia turn to one another for mutual assistance rivaling U.S.-S. Korea cooperation
N. Korea probably sees technical advance in spy satellite launch despite botched 2nd attempt