Allies’ defense chiefs agree on close cooperation over inter-Korean military agreement

SEOUL, The defense chiefs of South Korea and the United States agreed Thursday to maintain close cooperation in the process of implementing a recent inter-Korean military agreement aimed at reducing tensions and preventing accidental clashes.

New Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo and his U.S. counterpart, James Mattis, held telephone talks to discuss the agreement signed last week to implement the military part of the April inter-Korean summit accord, and other issues, Seoul's defense ministry said.

"The ministers agreed to maintain a firm combined defense posture and close communication and cooperation between the military authorities of South Korea and the U.S. during the process of enforcing the inter-Korean military agreement," the ministry said in a press release.

Following the latest inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang last week, Seoul and Pyongyang signed the agreement that includes withdrawing some border guard posts on a trial basis and removing arms from the Joint Security Area in the Demilitarized Zone.

The agreement is designed to flesh out the April summit accord that calls for joint efforts to halt "all hostile acts" against each other and practically eliminate the danger of war.

During their talks, Jeong and Mattis shared the understanding that close cooperation between the allies is more important than ever given the changing security environment of the peninsula, the ministry said.

"(The two) agreed to closely work together to deepen and evolve the robust South Korea-U.S. alliance in a future-oriented, mutually complementary way," the ministry said.

The defense chiefs also discussed their preparations for the annual ministerial Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) slated to occur in Washington, D.C., in late October. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the SCM.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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