Defense minister meets with U.S. defense delegation

SEOUL-- Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo on Monday met with a group of U.S. military and government officials on an American university's security program and exchanged assessments on the alliance and regional security issues, Jeong's office said.

Jeong welcomed the 18-member delegation on the Capstone General and Flag Officer course run by the U.S. National Defense University for its senior-level military officers and government officials led by Kurt Tidd, a retired navy admiral and former commander of the U.S. Southern Command, according to the ministry.

The delegation is on a five-day trip to South Korea that started on Friday and is designed to help them better understand the security circumstances on the Korean Peninsula and the bilateral alliance, the ministry said.

During the meeting, the minister explained the Seoul government's efforts for the denuclearization of North Korea and the establishment of a lasting peace on the peninsula, noting that some progress has been made thanks to the staunch alliance between the allies.

Stressing the value of the alliance, the minister asked for their backing for the development of bilateral ties and the envisioned transfer of the wartime operational control of South Korean forces from Washington to Seoul, according to the ministry.

Noting that his father took part in the 1950-53 Korean War as part of the U.S. navy and that Tidd himself worked to boost the Korea-U.S. alliance while in active service, the retired admiral said in response that the Capstone group members, as future leaders, will play a role in further deepening the alliance, the ministry said.

Launched in 1982, the Capstone program is designed to make individuals more effective in planning and employing U.S. forces in joint and combined operations, according to its website.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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