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JCS chiefs of South Korea, U.S. discuss possible response to North Korean provocation

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South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Kim Seung-kyum talks over the phone with his U.S. counterpart, Gen. Mark Milley, in Seoul on Oct. 5, one day after North Korea’s intermediate-range ballistic missile launch into the Pacific the previous day. [YONHAP]
The top military chiefs of South Korea and the United States discussed ways to deal with North Korean provocations, the office of South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said Wednesday.

South Korea’s JCS Chairman Gen. Kim Seung-kyum and his U.S. counterpart, Gen. Mark Milley, also reaffirmed their commitment to denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula in the annual Military Committee Meeting held in Washington, according to a press release from the South Korean JCS.

“The JCS chairmen of the two countries reaffirmed the strength of the South Korea-U.S. alliance at the meeting and discussed a range of issues from security conditions on the Korean Peninsula and the region and the development of the countries’ joint defense posture to the conditions-based transfer of the wartime operational control of troops [to South Korea],” it said.

The two also “discussed North Korea’s continued provocations, including its nuclear threats and missile launches, and other actions that are destabilizing to the region, and ways to deal with them,” it added.

North Korea staged eight rounds of missile tests since late last month, also firing an intermediate-range ballistic missile earlier this month that flew over Japan for the first time since 2017.

Gen. Milley reaffirmed the U.S.’ security commitment to South Korea, including the provision of U.S. extended deterrence, the JCS said.

“The JCS chairmen of the two countries agreed on the importance of the countries’ defense and security cooperation, along with their continued efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, to maintain peace and security on the peninsula and a free and open Indo-Pacific,” it added.

Wednesday’s meeting marked the first of its kind since Kim took office in July. It also marked the 47th of its kind since the allies began holding the annual talks in 1978.

The South Korean JCS earlier said Kim and Milley will be joined by their Japanese counterpart, Gen. Koji Yamazaki, on Thursday for three-way talks known as the Trilateral Chief of Defense.