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Iran Press TV

US, S Korea pledge to keep alliance against North

Iran Press TV

Sat Jun 1, 2013 2:39PM GMT

South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin and his US counterpart, Chuck Hagel, have vowed to maintain strong alliance in the face of what they described as potential threats from North Korea.

During a meeting on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on Saturday, the two defense chiefs denounced North Korea moves as not acceptable, saying that Pyongyang will only face further isolation if it pursues its nuclear weapons program.

'We have to develop the bilateral alliance so we can have joint deterrence capability that overwhelms North Korea,' South Korean Deputy Defense Minister Lim Kwan-bin quoted his boss as saying during the meeting.

'The two sides agreed to deepen military ties to develop a joint deterrence posture in response to North Korea's nuclear and conventional weapons,' Lim added.

On May 30, US and South Korean soldiers held a joint river-crossing drill aimed at enhancing their military capabilities.

More than 300 US soldiers and 95 South Korean troops participated in the exercise, constructing temporary floats for tanks and armored vehicles to cross the Imjin River. An unnamed South Korean military official said 14 tanks and 16 armored vehicles from both South Korea and the United States were mobilized for the drill.

North Korea decried the joint military exercise as a "hostile act."

The Korean Peninsula has been locked in a cycle of escalating military rhetoric since March 1, when the US and South Korea began two months of joint military maneuvers, which included nuclear-capable B-52 and B-2 bombers.

The move prompted the North Korean government to step up its war rhetoric and authorize its army to launch "preemptive nuclear strikes" on the United States.

MP/SS



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