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S. Korea, US and Japan discuss expanding security ties

Gen. Won In-choul (second from right), chairman of South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, poses for a photo with his US and Japanese counterparts, Gen. Mark Milley (center) and Gen. Koji Yamazaki (second from left), respectively. (South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff)
Gen. Won In-choul (second from right), chairman of South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, poses for a photo with his US and Japanese counterparts, Gen. Mark Milley (center) and Gen. Koji Yamazaki (second from left), respectively. (South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff)
The South Korean, US and Japanese military chiefs on Thursday discussed deepening security cooperation amid a growing threat from North Korea to promote peace and stability in the region, at their first in-person three-way talks in Hawaii since the COVID-19 outbreak in January a year earlier.

The talks, held on the sidelines of a change-of-command ceremony at the US Indo-Pacific Command, opened as the US seeks to establish what it calls a rules-based international order in the Indo-Pacific region with its Asian allies.

Gen. Won In-choul, chairman of Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, highlighted three-way cooperation to tackle security challenges in the region, while his US counterpart, Gen. Mark Milley, reassured the two Asian allies of an ironclad commitment to defense and providing them with ”extended deterrence.”

The defense strategy refers to powerful US reinforcements such as nuclear weapons, bombers and attack submarines in the event of war.

Gen. Koji Yamazaki, chief of staff of Japan’s Joint Staff for Self-Defense Forces, said the three allies should work to bring North Korea to comply with its obligations under relevant UN Security Council resolutions in place to curb its nuclear and missile programs.

Gen. Won will meet with other key US commanders to discuss broader efforts to forge a stronger alliance after attending the change-of-command ceremony. He will return home Monday.

By Choi Si-young (siyoungchoi@heraldcorp.com)
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