South Korea's Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup met with a visiting top U.S. general in Seoul on Saturday to discuss the bilateral alliance and security on the Korean Peninsula and beyond, his office said.
His talks with U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark A. Milley came as Seoul and Washington mark the 70th anniversary of their alliance this year, amid tensions caused by Pyongyang's provocative acts, like an intercontinental ballistic missile launch earlier this week.
Lee expressed his appreciation to Milley, noting he contributed to the joint efforts to reinforce the two countries' combined exercises in the process of the bilateral partnership evolving into an "alliance in action that marches toward the future," according to the ministry.
The minister also stressed the importance of strengthening a combined defense posture by establishing a foundation for America's extended deterrence, under which the allies work together to deter and respond to North Korea's advancing nuclear and missile threats.
Extended deterrence refers to the U.S.' commitment to using the full range of its military capabilities, including nuclear, to defend its ally.
Milley, who is set to retire in September, portrayed the alliance as the "most capable" one in history, saying military cooperation between the two countries is stronger than ever, the ministry said.
He also underscored the importance of the alliance demonstrating its robust capabilities, posture and will to respond to North Korean threats.
Later in the day, Milley and his South Korean counterpart, Gen. Kim Seung-kyum, visited the War Memorial of Korea in Seoul to pay their respects at a monument memorializing troops who made sacrifices in the 1950-53 Korean War.
Source: Yonhap News Agency