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S. Korea, U.S. reaffirm strong alliance amid challenges from N. Korea, China Updated: 2021-03-18 10:35:25 KST

During their first ever in-person meetup in Seoul, South Korea's defense minister Suh Wook and Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin once again reaffirmed the importance of a strong Seoul-Washington alliance, saying they have always been driven by a mission of ensuring security and propserity on the Korean Peninsula.
Calling the alliance a linchpin of peace and stability, Suh underlined that the two countries' cooperation will continue and in fact grow closer than ever.

"In the process of developing the ROK-U.S. alliance, maintaining our combined defense posture and deterrence against North Korea is the most crucial of all. Going forward, we will continue to strengthen our solidarity."

And, in agreement with Suh's remarks, Austin pointed out that the alliance has never been more important, especially given the unprecedented challenges posed by North Korea and China.

"I am here today to reaffirm to the United States commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea. You and I can both agree that military readiness is a top priority, and that our combined readiness must ensure that we are ready to fight tonight, if needed."

Also agreed on Wednesday was that security cooperation between Seoul, Washington and Tokyo is crucial in dealing with Pyeongyang's nuclear and missile threats as well as forming a cooperative security structure in Northeast Asia.
Ahead of the so-called "two-plus-two" meeting on Thursday, Austin said he looks forward to the signing of the new Special Measures Agreement that reflects the Biden administration's commitment to reinvigorating and modernizing democratic alliances around the world.
Kim Dami, Arirang News.
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