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S. Korean, US defense chiefs reaffirm goal of Korean Peninsula's denuclearization

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-03-18 09:17
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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, second from left, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, left, South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong, second from right, and South Korean Defense Minister Suh Wook, right, pose for the media before the Foreign and Defense Ministerial meeting between South Korea and US at the Foreign Ministry in Seoul, South Korea, March 18, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

SEOUL - South Korean and US defense chiefs reaffirmed the common goal of the Korean Peninsula's complete denuclearization during their talks on Wednesday, according to the South Korean defense ministry.

South Korean Defense Minister Suh Wook talked in Seoul with visiting US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who arrived here earlier in the day following his trip to Japan together with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Suh and Austin reaffirmed the South Korea-US common goal of the peninsula's complete denuclearization and the permanent peace settlement, the Seoul ministry said.

They also reaffirmed the conditions-based transfer of the wartime operational control of South Korean forces from the United States, to which Seoul and Washington agreed in 2006.

South Korea's wartime command was handed over to the US forces after the 1950-53 Korean War broke out. South Korea won back its peacetime operational control in 1994.

Meanwhile, South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong held talks with Blinken to discuss the issues of mutual concern, such as the South Korea-US relations, the peninsula issues, and other regional and global issues, according to the South Korean foreign ministry.

Chung and Blinken made an in-depth discussion on ways to cooperate between the two countries for substantive progress in the complete denuclearization of and the lasting peace settlement on the peninsula.

The diplomats agreed to continue consultations in order to hold a summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and US President Joe Biden as early as possible.

The US officials are scheduled to hold a so-called "two plus two" meeting with their South Korean counterparts on Thursday.

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