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Leaders Discuss U.S.-South Korea Relations

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WASHINGTON, April 10, 2015 — Defense Secretary Ash Carter met with South Korea’s National Security Advisor Director Kim Kwan-jin in Seoul to reaffirm the U.S.-South Korea alliance, according to a Defense Department statement issued today.

Carter is on his first trip to the Asia-Pacific region as defense secretary. Carter and Kim, who have known each other for several years, discussed the importance of their countries’ relationship in deterring North Korea’s nuclear, weapons of mass destruction, and ballistic missile threats, the release said.

The two leaders also discussed how those threats continue to put the Korean Peninsula's stability and security at risk, and how the U.S-South Korea alliance is a linchpin of the U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific, according to the release.

During the leaders’ meeting, Carter made clear that as an alliance, the United States and South Korea continue to stand shoulder to shoulder to address those threats and respond to any provocation, the release stated.

The leaders covered ongoing progress in strengthening the alliance, including implementing the joint decision to move to a conditions-based transfer of wartime operational control, and the December 2014 trilateral South Korea-U.S.-Japan information-sharing agreement to help deter North Korean aggression, the release said.

Carter also expressed his personal interest in further strengthening the U.S.-South Korea alliance, which has growing importance to peace and stability around the globe, according to the release.