Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo and U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper have reaffirmed that they will support their countries’ diplomatic efforts to fully denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and establish permanent peace.
The two defense chiefs revealed the stance in a joint press statement released after their meeting in Seoul on Friday.
The two officials said they discussed security conditions on the peninsula and the transfer of wartime operational control(OPCON) from Washington to Seoul. They also agreed to boost communication and cooperation toward maintaining stability in the region, based on their solid alliance.
Also during the talks, the U.S. side reportedly asked for South Korea's support in ensuring the freedom of navigation in the strategic Strait of Hormuz. Seoul is said to have conveyed that it is mulling various options to ensure the safety of vessels navigating in the region.
Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump had tweeted on Wednesday that South Korea is a very wealthy nation that feels an obligation to contribute to the defense provided by the U.S. military. He added that Seoul has agreed to pay substantially more money to Washington to defend itself against North Korea.