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S. Korea, U.S. defense chiefs reaffirm alliance, vow close cooperation in phone call Updated: 2021-01-25 04:01:15 KST

In Saturday's phone call, South Korea's defense minister Suh Wook and his newly appointed U.S. counterpart Lloyd Austin reaffirmed the importance of their countries' alliance and agreed to work together closely.
Seoul's defense ministry says the phone call took place at Washington's request.
According to the ministry, the two defense chiefs said their alliance is more important than ever, and the American defense secretary said the Seoul-Washington alliance is a "linchpin" of peace and stability in Northeast Asia.
They also agreed to meet in person in the near future to more deeply discuss pending issues.
In its statement released on the same day, the U.S. Department of Defense said the two officials reaffirmed the "ironclad" Seoul-Washington alliance and underlined the importance of close cooperaton.
Congratulating Austin on his confirmation, Suh said the retired Army general is the right person to take on the duties of defense secretary.
Austin highlighted his country's commitment to the defense of South Korea through a combined defense posture and the U.S. extended deterrent.
Also, the statement said, the two officials noted a need to maintain the combat readiness of their combined forces and agreed to enhance cooperation on shared threats.
Austin is the first African-American to serve as defense secretary.
He is said to have had no direct experience with East Asia in his military career, but he vowed to work closely with U.S. allies in the region.
Kim Dami, Arirang News.
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