U.S., South Korean military officials hold latest 'integrated defense dialogue'

By John Liang / March 21, 2018 at 3:00 PM

U.S. and South Korean military officials this week held the latest in a series of "Integrated Defense Dialogues" in Washington.

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Affairs Randall Schriver and South Korean Deputy Minister for National Defense Policy Yeo Suk-joo co-led the March 19-20 talks, according to a joint statement issued by the Pentagon.

Additional officials at the meeting included acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia Brig. Gen. Roberta Shea, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy Robert Soofer, acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Korea Mark Lambert, and South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director General for North American Affairs Kim Tae-jin.

The two delegations celebrated their cooperation during last month's Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, which helped "set the conditions for inter-Korean and U.S.-North Korea dialogues at the appropriate time. They committed to strengthen cooperation to ensure the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization (CVID) of the Korean Peninsula," according to the statement.

Additionally, U.S. and South Korean officials "concurred that North Korea's nuclear tests, ballistic missile launches and development, as well as other destabilizing actions, are a serious threat to the East Asia region and the world. Both sides reaffirmed the mutual objective of peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and shared the understanding that it is necessary to strengthen dialogue to draw sincere change in North Korea’s behavior, while maintaining sanctions and pressure with the international community," the statement reads.

Both parties agreed to hold the next meeting in Seoul, "at a mutually appropriate time in the second half of 2018."