20:13 GMT23 January 2021
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    James Mattis and Han Min-goo, Defense Ministers of the United States and South Korea, both want their agencies to establish around-the-clock communication between their agencies as a way to strengthen the ties between the countries and against North Korea, media reported on Sunday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — According to the source, Defense Minister Han "eagerly" agreed to the Mattis' proposal to closely around the clock.

    "Secretary Mattis suggested to Minister Han (they) communicate closely around the clock and all year round," Yonhap agency wrote, citing an unnamed military source.

    Mattis’ two-day visit to South Korea, which started on Thursday, marks his first official visit as the US Secretary of Defense. During the visit he also met with National Security Advisor Kim Kwan-jin, with the parties agreeing to continue to maintain peace and security on the Korean peninsula. Mattis stated that the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system on the South Korean territory, which was agreed on in July 2016, is only a matter of discussion because of "the provocative behavior of North Korea".

    Mattis’ visit to South Korea marks his first overseas as Secretary of Defense, and comes amid brewing tensions in the Korean Peninsula over the recent months.

    Pyongyang has successfully conducted five nuclear tests, including two in 2016, and has frequently made statements about the advancement of its nuclear program. In January 2017, the North Korean Foreign Ministry announced that the country was ready to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) "anytime and anywhere."


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