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U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis visits South Korean President Moon at Blue House

The visiting Pentagon chief also met with
President Moon Jae-in at the nation’s top office. It was a closed door event as it comes ahead
of President Trump’s visit to Asia next week. During the sit-down, Mattis reaffirmed Washington’s
commitment to defending South Korea . Moon Connyoung tells us more. Unshakable solidarity is what South Korean
President Moon Jae-in and U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis reaffirmed ahead of a closed-door
meeting at Seoul’s presidential Blue House. Mattis, who had just traveled to the heavily
fortified buffer zone that divides South and North Korea earlier in the day, conveyed Washington’s
commitment to the alliance forged in blood on fierce battlegrounds. (English)
“This alliance we have is built on trust, trust, trust. It’s also developed from a very difficult
war and Korea has become a thriving democracy. So we stand with you, Mr. President.” South Korea’s commander-in-chief thanked the
U.S. defense chief and his latest efforts to fend off North Korean provocations. (Korean)
“I believe the aggressive deployment of U.S. strategic assets on the Korean peninsula has
been effective in deterring North Korea’s provocations.” . Although the allies share the goal of denuclearizing
North Korea, the South Korean president highlighted that peace and security on the Korean peninsula
takes priority over all else. Since peace can neither be made nor maintained
if not backed by strong military capabilities, President Moon stressed the need for Seoul
and Washington to bolster deterrence against North Korea based on joint defense. Noting that the North Korean regime’s nuclear
obsession poses an existential threat to South Korea and the U.S., the Pentagon chief underscored
that America’s security commitments to defending South Korea remain ironclad. Mattis’ visit to South Korea, where he landed
early Friday morning, is seen as paving the way for a much-anticipated maiden trip by
U.S. President Donald Trump in a little over a week. A senior White House official said earlier
this week that Mr. Trump will most likely forgo a visit to the demilitarized zone separating
the two Koreas when he visits Asia… bypassing what has been a symbolic opportunity for U.S.
commanders-in-chief to stare into the Hermit Kingdom. Moon Connyoung, Arirang News, the Blue House.

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