Panetta, South Korean Counterpart Pledge Close Cooperation
By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 30, 2011 Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and his South Korean counterpart, Minister of Defense Kim Kwan-jin, discussed the situation on the Korean Peninsula during a telephone conversation yesterday evening.
Pentagon Press Secretary George Little told reporters during the approximately 20-minute call that the secretary and minister “shared the view that peace and stability on the Korean peninsula is our overarching priority and agreed to maintain close cooperation and coordination in the weeks and months ahead.”
North Korean officials this week staged a massive funeral for Kim Jong Il, who died of a heart attack Dec. 17. In the weeks since Kim’s death, his third son, Kim Jong Un, has been acclaimed as the nation’s new “Dear Leader.”
Pentagon officials said last week they have seen no indications of North Korean provocation since the elder Kim’s death, and there has been no increase in U.S. alert levels for troops stationed in South Korea.