US, ROK reaffirm strong alliance
Updated: 2013-04-19 10:05
WASHINGTON - The United States and the Republic of Korea on Thursday reaffirmed their strong alliance hours after the Democratic People's Republic of Korea listed conditions for resuming talks with the two countries.
In a joint communique issued after the 37th US-ROK Military Committee meeting held via teleconference by Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his ROK's counterpart Jung Seung-jo, the two sides said that their alliance "is stronger than ever.
"On the basis of the mutual defense treaty, the two chairmen reaffirmed not only the commitment to enhancing mutual security, but also the commitment to the enduring mission of the alliance, which is to defend the Republic of Korea through a robust combined defense posture," said the communique, which was released by the Pentagon.
The two sides also vowed that they "will respond firmly to any provocation by the DPRK, in accordance with the Republic of Korea-United States Bilateral Counter-Provocation Plan," it said.
Earlier on Thursday, the DPRK's National Defense Commission urged the United States and the ROK to stop provocations, fully apologize for their aggressions, and give assurances not to carry out nuclear war games designed to intimidate the DPRK if they want to reopen negotiations with Pyongyang.
It also urged Washington and Seoul to withdraw nuclear weapons stationed in and around the ROK, and refrain from redeploying them.
However, in the US-ROK joint communique, Dempsey reiterated the "firm and unwavering commitment" of the United States to defend the ROK using all available military capabilities, including forces postured on the Korean Peninsula, its nuclear umbrella, and conventional strike and missile defense capabilities.
For his part, Jung Seung-jo expressed the ROK's commitment to strengthening the level of its capabilities and enhancing the level of military cooperation in the region in response to the "ongoing pattern of defiance and provocative actions" from the DPRK.
He stated that the DPRK actions "pose a serious threat to the Korean Peninsula, Northeast Asia, and international peace and security".
In addition, both sides promised to further enhance the alliance's deterrence capabilities and highlighted the bilateral decision to prepare sufficient capabilities for the ROK's defense.
The military meeting was held after weeks of heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula after the UN Security Council imposed fresh sanctions against Pyongyang last month after it conducted a third nuclear test in February.
The United States and the ROK have since carried out intensive war games in and around the ROK, including sending B-52 strategic heavy bombers and B-2 stealth bombers to the ROK, apparently in a show of force.
These moves have led the DPRK to make repeated threats of war, which spooked many in and outside the region.