The Korea Herald


Carter to reiterate strong U.S. security commitment to S. Korea

By (공용)코리아헤럴드

Published : April 4, 2015 - 11:39

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WASHINGTON--U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter will reiterate Washington's strong security commitment to South Korea when he travels to the Asian ally next week, the Pentagon announced Friday.
Carter is scheduled to visit South Korea on April 9-11 for his first face-to-face talks with South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo and other senior officials. He is expected to focus on how to strengthen joint defense capabilities against North Korea.
South Korea is the second leg of a two-nation trip that will also take him to Japan. It will be Carter's first bilateral visits since taking office in February, which officials said demonstrates the importance he places on Asia.

"Secretary Carter ... will meet with senior government officials to reiterate the United States' strong commitment to Republic of Korea's security and discuss regional issues," the Defense Department said in a statement.
Carter's trip had drawn keen attention in Seoul because of the possibility of him raising the need for deploying the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) missile defense system to South Korea. But U.S. officials said they have decided not to bring up the issue this time.
South Korea has been badly divided over whether to accept a potential THAAD deployment, with supporters saying the deployment would help better protect against North Korea's ballistic missile threats, and opponents claiming it would unnecessarily inflame tensions with China and Russia. 
In Japan, Carter will meet with senior Japanese officials to discuss the defense strategic guidelines review and a number of other matters of mutual interest ahead of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to Washington at the end of April, the Pentagon said.
In May, Carter will make his second trip to Asia to attend the annual regional defense ministers' talks, known as Shangri-La Dialogue, in Singapore, which he views as an important opportunity to engage with Singapore and other key partners in Southeast Asia, the statement said.
Carter will also visit India, where he is looking forward to building on President Barack Obama's visit earlier this year by further strengthening defense cooperation between the two countries, the statement said. (Yonhap)