Following meetings in Beijing with Chinese leaders, including President Xi Jinping, Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis traveled to the South Korean capital Seoul to teach the leaders.
Mattis met with Chinese leaders on June 27 and yesterday, "reaffirming the importance of strategic transparency in the defense relationship between the US and China," said Pentagon spokesman Dana W. White . "Leaders discussed a wide range of defense issues and reaffirmed the importance of full, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea."
His visit to Seoul with Defense Minister Song Young-moo underscores the importance of the US South Korea Alliance. The secretary stressed that the United States and South Korea share democratic values and common security interests. "The US commitment to the Republic of Korea remains undaunted, and the US will continue to use all its diplomatic and military capabilities to fulfill these commitments," he said
US. Troop Presence
The United States will maintain the current US military force on the Korean Peninsula by some 28,500 troops, the secretary said. As stated in President Donald J. Trump's Indo-Pacific Global Strategy, he states that the US is committed to a lasting, peaceful, secure, prosperous, free and open Indo-Pacific.
The journey is Mattis & # 39; s Seventh in the region since he became secretary. During his last trip to the region in early June, he appealed to all nations in the region to "aim for a common destiny steeped in shared values and respect for international law," he said.
The National Defense Strategy calls for strengthening existing alliances and building new alliances.
"I welcome the opportunity to strengthen concrete relationships with intrepid allies while opening the door to substantive dialogue with others in the region, as I have done in China. The last few days," Mattis said.
He pledged that the United States would continue its close consultation with South Korean leaders and other partners in the region, "because our diplomats continue their work to complete the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula . "
The secretary objected to the decision to suspend the exercise-freedom guard. He said that this would give diplomats more opportunity to negotiate, which would increase the prospects for a peaceful solution on the peninsula. "At the same time, the US armed forces and [South Korean] remain united, alert and ready to resist any challenge."
This year marks the 65th anniversary of the signing of the US-South Korean Defense Agreement at the end of the Korean War. The vehicle for talks between countries is the joint security consultation meeting.
It is the turn of the Americans to hold the meeting, and Mattis said he looks forward to the discussions in Washington in October.
(Episode Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)