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Suh, Miller reaffirm efforts to strengthen Korea-US alliance

Defense Minister Suh Wook speaks during a parliamentary audit session at the National Assembly in Seoul on Oct. 26. (Yonhap)
Defense Minister Suh Wook speaks during a parliamentary audit session at the National Assembly in Seoul on Oct. 26. (Yonhap)

WASHINGTON -- South Korean Defense Minister Suh Wook and acting US Defense Secretary Christopher Miller spoke by phone and reaffirmed their commitment to the alliance between the two countries, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

Miller also reaffirmed the US commitment to South Korea's defense in his first phone call with Suh since taking office earlier this month after President Donald Trump fired Miller's predecessor, Mark Esper, just a few months before leaving office.

"On November 17, Acting Secretary of Defense, Christopher C. Miller, conducted a phone call with the Republic of Korea (ROK) Minister of National Defense Suh Wook to reaffirm the enduring strength of the US-ROK Alliance," the Department of Defense said in a press release.

ROK stands for South Korea's official name, the Republic of Korea.

"Secretary Miller and Minister Suh discussed the outcome of the 52nd Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) in October and underscored the US commitment to defend South Korea through the combined defense posture of the US-ROK Alliance," the Pentagon said.

The SCM refers to annual defense ministers' talks between the two countries. This year's meeting took place in Washington last month between Suh and then US Secretary of Defense Esper.

"Minister Suh and Secretary Miller both reflected on the importance of maintaining communication to deepen bilateral cooperation," the press release said. "The two leaders further pledged to pursue continued progress on the mutual security interests of the US-ROK Alliance."

South Korea's defense ministry also issued a statement, saying Suh and Miller vowed continued cooperation to develop the alliance "in a future-oriented and mutually beneficial way."

The talks were arranged at the request of the new Pentagon chief, according to the ministry. (Yonhap)

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