S. Korean, U.S. defense chiefs to hold first talks in late August

SEOUL-- The defense chiefs of South Korea and the United States will have their first meeting in Washington on Aug. 30, Seoul's defense ministry said in a report to lawmakers on Monday.

Defense Minister Song Young-moo and his U.S. counterpart Jim Mattis are expected to discuss joint responses to North Korea's nuclear and missile threats and pending alliance issues including an advanced U.S. missile defense system and a revision of a bilateral pact on Seoul's missile capability.

It will mark their first talks since Song, former Navy chief of operations, took office in July.

They are scheduled to meet during the allies' annual Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) slated for October. But their talks will be held at an earlier date, given the North's evolving nuclear and missile threats.

They are known to have plans to consult on Washington's possible deployment of strategic military assets to the Korean Peninsula on a regular basis.

Seoul earlier said that it and the U.S. have agreed to open negotiations to revise a bilateral missile guideline pact, possibly to allow South Korea to double its firepower.

The South would be able to develop a missile with a range of over 800 kilometers and a payload of 1 ton from the current 500 kilograms if the guideline is revised.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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