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Remarks by Secretary Mattis and Min. Song at the DMZ, South Korea

MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENSE SONG YOUNG-MOO (THROUGH TRANSLATOR):  This area that we're standing here now, the Panmunjom area, was not only a site of intense and bloody battle for the ROK and U.S. Marine Corps, but also on the day 1953, 27th of July, it was a historical event where the armistice agreement was signed.

This place's historical significance is even more profound when you consider the fact that here was a place where the North-South Dialogue was held to maintain peace between the two Koreas as well as the armistice talks that was ongoing.  However, at this point there is no dialogue that continues between the two Koreas.

And myself and Secretary Mattis stand here today together to show that the ROK-U.S. alliance is indeed close and well-cooperated as well as completely aligned in our stance.

And hereby we also affirm that, although North Korea continues to develop nuclear weapon and missiles, but these are weapons that they should never be used.  Should they ever use it, they will be faced with the strong might of the ROK-U.S. combined forces, and they will be met with a proportional and firm response.

And we also strongly implore that North Korea stop its reckless provocations and come out toward the path of peace and dialogue.

And the minister of national defense of the Republic of Korea and the United States secretary of defense, we together will continue to defend peace through strong will and strong might.


And I'm here today to reaffirm the United States' ironclad commitment to the South Korean people.  This visit today to this demilitarized zone portrays in very strong terms the difference we see between two nations.

To the south lies a vibrant country, a vibrant economy, a free country, and it's underpinned by peace-loving members of a free society.

Behind me to the north, an oppressive regime that shackles its people, denying their freedom, their welfare and their human dignity in pursuit of nuclear weapons in the means of delivery, in order to threaten other with catastrophe.

North Korean provocations continue to threaten regional and world peace.  And despite the unanimous condemnation by the United Nations Security Council, they still proceed.

And as the U.S. secretary of state, Tillerson, has made clear, our goal is not war, but rather the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Minister Song, two days ago at the ASEAN meeting in the Republic of Philippines, we made clear our mutual commitment to a diplomatic solution to address North Korea's reckless, outlaw behavior.  And together we noted that we are serious about solving this problem.

And we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you, with your soldiers and with your people in confronting the threats posed by the Kim Jong Un regime.

And I look forward to our discussion tomorrow at the Security Consultative Meeting, where we will discuss ways to further strengthen the ROK-U.S. alliance.  This is an alliance of more than 60 years, and one that we both know is built on trust.  It is an alliance designed to ensure peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and the strongest military defense of our shared democratic values.

Thank you.