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S. Korea, U.S. JCS chiefs reaffirm KOR-US alliance

Posted March. 16, 2017 07:15,   

Updated March. 16, 2017 07:25


South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Lee Sun-jin and his U.S. counterpart Gen. Joseph Dunford assessed the current security situation of the Korean Peninsula on Wednesday that North Korea is showing high possibilities of provocation, and agreed to coordinate efforts to instantly respond to such provocations.

During approximately 20 minutes of phone call at 6 a.m., the military leaders expressed high possibilities that the North will push forward its provocative actions, as it is nearing upcoming annual joint military drills including Foal Eagle and Key Resolve, the birthdate of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung on April 15, and Military Foundation Day on April 25. In particular, there are high chances that Pyongyang will heighten its military prowess by launching its first-ever mobile Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), given that this year marks the 105th anniversary of its dear leader, along with the fact that the celebration comes as a “turn-around year (years ending with 0 or 5),” which North Koreans highly put importance. Against this backdrop, North Korea has recently test-launched its mid-range ballistic Musudan missile on April 15 last year to commemorate the birth of its former strongman.

Some express concerns that the Korea-U.S. alliance may not function properly against provocations from the North, considering the ongoing turmoil in the South Korean politics after the presidential impeachment. To this end, Gen. Dunford reiterated a firm bilateral defense posture over the phone, saying, "The combined defense posture is firm regardless of the political situation in South Korea."

Hyo-Ju Son hjson@donga.com