Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–March 27, 2013. Pentagon Press Secretary George Little provided the following readout:
“Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke by phone this evening with Republic of Korea Minister of National Defense Kim Kwan Jin to discuss the unwavering United States’ commitment to our alliance with the Republic of Korea, especially during this time of heightened tension on the Korean Peninsula.
“Secretary Hagel and Minister Kim reaffirmed the strength of the alliance, which has been, and continues to be, instrumental in maintaining stability on the Korean peninsula. The secretary highlighted the steadfast U.S. commitment to the defense of South Korea, including extended deterrence capabilities, and pointed to the recently signed ROK-U.S. counter-provocation plan as a mechanism to enhance consultation and coordination of alliance responses to North Korean aggression.
“Secretary Hagel also expressed his strong confidence in Gen. James D. Thurman’s leadership of the 28,500 men and women of the U.S. forces in Korea and applauded the steps his team has taken to further integrate command and control functions with the Republic of Korea. The leaders also discussed the recently announced U.S. plan to increase U.S. ground-based interceptors and early warning and tracking radar in response to the North Korean threat.
“Secretary Hagel thanked Minister Kim for his friendship and noted that his service under two different South Korean presidents– a first for a ROK minister of national defense–can only further strengthen the ROK-U.S. relationship.”