Moon says Korea-U.S. alliance should continue forever

SEOUL, President Moon Jae-in said Monday the alliance between South Korea and the United States should continue forever as he met with senior American military officials stationed here.

The meeting at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae was organized in recognition of outgoing U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) Commander Gen. Vincent Brooks, who is set to leave South Korea after two and a half years of service.

"The Korea-U.S. alliance was forged in blood amid the artillery fire of the war, but it didn't stop there. It is developing into a great alliance that is creating peace on the Koraen Peninsula, drawing security and prosperity to the South and the U.S. and leading peace and stability in Northeast Asia," Moon said.

Moon said he saw an article that Brooks contributed to a South Korean military periodical published on Monday, in which he said the South and the U.S. should travel together in the spirit of crossing a river on the same boat.

"There is no better expression than this to describe the spirit of the Korea-U.S. alliance," Moon said.

He said that the two countries have produced dramatic changes over the past year, referring to the ongoing peace process that led to three inter-Korean summits and the historic first-ever summit between the U.S. and the North.

"Now, a second U.S.-North Korea summit and a fourth inter-Korean summit are ahead of us," he said.

Moon said the North has been refraining from nuclear and missile tests since November last year and has taken some denuclearization measures. He also said he looks forward to a second U.S.-North Korea summit producing dramatic progress in the denuclearization process.

Moon expressed thanks to Brooks for his service.

The U.S. commander said that despite a lot of challenges and difficulties since taking office, Moon has dealt well with North Korean provocations, making progress toward creating the conditions for realizing a permanent peace.

U.S. Ambassador Harry Harris said that the relations between the two countries are in the best shape ever and that the alliance will continue to prosper due to their strong military and diplomatic bonds.

South Korea's Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo said that he confirmed the strength of the alliance between the two countries at the annual defense ministers' talks in Washington last week.

The alliance has so far helped South Korea achieve economic prosperity and democracy, and it's time the two countries move forward to a permanent peace on the peninsula, he said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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