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‘Our goal is not war,’ says James Mattis at Korean DMZ

‘Our goal is not war,’ says James Mattis at Korean DMZ

Posted October. 28, 2017 07:51,   

Updated October. 28, 2017 08:11


U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis said Friday that Washington does not want war (against North Korea) but denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula at the Joint Security Area of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, the heavily fortified border between South and North Korea. “As Secretary of State (Rex) Tillerson has made clear, our goal is not war but rather the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” said Mattis. “We stand shoulder to shoulder with the Korean people in confronting the threats posed by the Kim Jong Un regime.” He was joined by his South Korean counterpart Song Young-moo.

The pentagon chief landed at the U.S. military’s Osan Air Base earlier in the day to attend the annual Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) between South Korea and the United States scheduled for Saturday. Immediately after visiting the truce village, he paid a visit to President Moon Jae-in at the president office Cheong Wa Dae. At the SCM, the allies will discuss ways to enhance the effectiveness of proliferation deterrence, including the expansion of the U.S. strategic assets deployment. Prospects for an early transfer of wartime operational control will also be on the key agenda.

Meanwhile, Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited Seoul on the same day and held the Military Committee Meeting (MCM) with his Seoul’s counterpart Gen. Jeong Kyeong-doo and other high-ranking military officers from the two sides to share response measures against the North’s nuclear and missile provocations. Gen. Dunford reaffirmed that the United States will continue its “ironclad commitment” to the defense of the peninsula including proliferation deterrence.

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com