Amidst growing tension in the Korean peninsula and increasing threat from North Korea, United States Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel has spoken to his South Korean counterpart Kim Kwan Jin to review the security situation.
Hagel and Kim reaffirmed the strength of the alliance, which has been and continues to be, instrumental in maintaining stability on the Korean peninsula, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.
During the call late on Wednesday, Hagel highlighted the steadfast US commitment to the defence of South Korea, including extended deterrence capabilities, and pointed to the recently signed South Korea-US counter-provocation plan as a mechanism to enhance consultation and coordination of alliance responses to North Korean aggression, he said.
Little said Hagel spoke by phone with Kim to discuss the unwavering United States' commitment to its alliance with the Republic of Korea, especially during this time of heightened tension on the Korean Peninsula.
Hagel also expressed his strong confidence in Gen James D Thurman, who leads the 28,500 strong American contingent in South 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 US plan to increase US ground-based interceptors and early warning and tracking radar in response to the North Korean threat," Little said.
Image: United States Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel