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Blinken says US will always work with S. Korea against NK provocations

March 18, 2024 - 21:43 By Yonhap
President Yoon Suk Yeol (right) and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken shake hands while meeting on the sidelines of the ministerial conference of the third Summit for Democracy at Hotel Shilla in Seoul on Monday in this photo provided by the presidential office. (Yonhap)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday the United States will always work with South Korea to firmly respond to North Korea's provocations, according to the presidential office, after Pyongyang fired multiple short-range ballistic missiles toward the East Sea.

Blinken made the remark during a meeting with President Yoon Suk Yeol on the sidelines of the third Summit for Democracy hosted by South Korea this week.

"Secretary Blinken said the United States will always be with South Korea to respond firmly to North Korea's provocations and for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula," the presidential office said in a press release, adding the top US diplomat called for continuing close coordination and communication between the allies, while further strengthening their "extended deterrence," the US commitment to using the full range of its military capabilities, including nuclear, to defend its ally.

Blinken's comment came hours after North Korea fired multiple short-range ballistic missiles toward the East Sea.

Yoon welcomed the secretary to Seoul, saying the recent flurry of senior-level exchanges shows the strength of the alliance, which has evolved into a "global comprehensive strategic alliance."

He also called for working closely together to leave behind a "better democracy" for future generations in line with this week's summit's theme, "Democracy for Future Generations," noting the alliance is stronger because the two countries share a belief in liberal democracy.

Blinken conveyed US President Joe Biden's greetings to Yoon, saying Biden is grateful to South Korea for hosting the gathering this year.

In a separate release, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said that during the meeting with Yoon, Blinken reaffirmed the South Korea-US alliance as "the linchpin of peace, prosperity, and security in the Indo-Pacific and beyond."

The two sides emphasized the importance of deterring North Korea's aggression and addressing the "destabilizing impacts" of military cooperation between the North and Russia on international peace and security and the global non-proliferation regime, according to Miller.

"The secretary condemned the March 17 launch of ballistic missiles by the DPRK and reaffirmed the United States' ironclad commitment to the ROK's security," Miller said. ROK and DPRK stand for the official names of South Korea and North Korea, the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, respectively.

Yoon and Blinken also discussed the importance of "sustained" trilateral cooperation with Japan, and affirmed the importance of the two countries' economic and technology partnership for promoting prosperity and addressing global challenges, according to the spokesperson. (Yonhap)