SEOUL, Aug. 19 (UPI) — The U.S. Navy secretary met with the South Korean defense minister on Friday to reaffirm the bilateral alliance and to address shared concerns with regards to North Korea provocations.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus‘ visit to Seoul comes at a time when the situation on the Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia is “rapidly changing,” according to South Korea Defense Minister Han Min-koo.
The Navy secretary’s visit to South Korea is also taking place days after Seoul’s unification ministry announced the defection of a senior North Korean diplomat to South Korea.
On Friday, Mabus said there is no other alliance on Earth as powerful as the U.S.-South Korea relationship, and that Northeast Asia is an important region to the world, not just to the United States and South Korea, Yonhap reported.
Han said he expects closer consultation between the two governments.
In a separate meeting on Friday, U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley spoke with his South Korean counterpart Jang Jun-gyu after arriving in South Korea on Wednesday.
Milley met with U.S. Forces Korea Commander Vincent Brooks to check the deployment plans for THAAD, the anti-missile defense system that is being placed in response to North Korea provocations, according to local news service Financial News.
Milley discussed plans to strengthen the U.S.-South Korea alliance and assessed the North Korean threat with Jang, South Korea’s military stated.