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Top U.S. Air Force officials vow 'extended deterrence' for S. Korea

2018/01/30 14:28

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SEOUL, Jan. 30 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson assured South Korea on Tuesday of an extended deterrence commitment, during a meeting with a top defense official here.

She discussed alliance issues during talks with Vice Defense Minister Suh Choo-suk in Seoul, joined by two other visiting high-ranking U.S. Air Force officials -- Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein and Pacific Air Forces Commander Gen. Terrence O'shaughnessy -- according to Suh's ministry.

Wilson is on a tour of the Asia-Pacific that includes stops in Guam, the Philippines and Japan.

Suh told them that the Seoul-Washington alliance is stronger than at any other time and the two sides are closely coordinating toward the shared aim of peacefully resolving the North Korean nuclear issue.

He stressed the importance of successfully hosting the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, which will open on Feb. 9 in South Korea's mountainous east. The communist North plans to send a delegation to the games.

Vice Defense Minister Suh Choo-suk (R) talks with U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson in Seoul on Jan. 30, 2018, in this photo provided by the defense ministry. (Yonhap) Vice Defense Minister Suh Choo-suk (R) talks with U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson in Seoul on Jan. 30, 2018, in this photo provided by the defense ministry. (Yonhap)

Suh pointed out that his government's efforts to ease tensions through inter-Korean dialogue will be conducive not only to the denuclearization of the peninsula but also to peace and stability in Northeast Asia.

He and Wilson assessed the extended deterrence capabilities, which refer to Washington's readiness to provide Seoul with all necessary options, both nuclear and conventional, to deter aggression by the North, on top of its 28,500 troops stationed in Korea.

Wilson was quoted as saying that the U.S. Air Force will continue efforts to bolster deterrence in the region on the basis of close cooperation with South Korea's Air Force, added the ministry.

lcd@yna.co.kr

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