United States Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Minister of National Defense Song Young-moo discussed the recent summit where South Korean president Moon Jae-in met with DPRK Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un. A major point of discussion during the phone call was North Korea’s commitment to denuclearization.
While the countries remain hopeful, the U.S. remained firm in their commitment to South Korea, and their willingness to use the full spectrum of the U.S. military in order to bolster their east Asian ally. On top of the current force of U.S. service members exceeding 25,000, the two countries perform yearly, joint military exercises on the land, in the water and in the air — this includes operation Key Resolve, exercise Ulchi-Freedom Guardian and FTX Foal Eagle.
Mattis and Song also expressed an emphasis on North Korean’s denuclearization being permanent. Some have shown concern that Kim Jong Un may be trying to buy time by feigning peace talks — others have thought that it may be a legitimate reach for peace, but that he may slip back into aggressive weapons development once the sanctions ease and the international eye shifts elsewhere. However, many remain hopeful that denuclearization may be permanent, as will peace — Secretary Mattis and Minister Song remain committed to ensuring this is the only realistic eventuality.
Minister Song reviewed the The Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification of the Korean Peninsula and discussed his thoughts with Secretary Mattis. He wanted to ensure that the steps taken by the DPRK toward peace were verifiable, meaning they each action moving forward would not be a front or a cover for something else. To this end, they will seek to implement United Nations Security Council Resolutions to keep the process moving in a positive direction.
As the highest level politicians make moves to potentially bring peace to the long-standing tensions on the Korean peninsula, high level defense officials seek to cover all possible contingencies, no matter what happens.
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, rear right, and South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo inspect a guard of honor from a car during a welcome honor guard ceremony at Defense Ministry in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. | AP Photo/Lee Jin-man