05:45 GMT21 October 2020
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    A presentation ceremony to hand the first the state-of-the-art US F-35A fighter-bomber to the South Korean Air Force has taken place at Fort Worth airbase in Texas.

    "The F-35A will not only deliver tremendous capability to ROK [the Republic of Korea], it also reinforces our alliance and further strengthens our defense relationship," US Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord said.

    Speaking of the "iron clad" US-ROK alliance, she described the presentation ceremony as "one example of how the unity and cooperation between our two great nations will continue for years to come."

    READ MORE: The March to War: US and South Korea Practice Destroying North Korean WMDs

    She was echoed by South Korean Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Seong-Yong Lee, who emphasized that the fifth-generation F-35A warplanes' deployment to South Korea will "enhance the ROK and USAF interoperability" and adds further to "the iron clad ROK-US alliance."

    According to him, the South Korean Air Force needs the F-35A "to be manufactured on schedule" and "our pilots, maintainers and support staff to be trained on time."

    READ MORE: We Won’t ‘Beg for Dialogue’: North Korea Rules Out Talks With US Preconditions

    Earlier it was reported that South Korea could purchase a total of 60 F-35As, with 40 such aircraft expected to be delivered to South Korea by 2021.
    The deployment of the first F-35As to South Korea's main operational base at Cheongju is scheduled for 2019.

    The aircraft's presentation came as US President Donald Trump wrote on his Twitter page that he'd "received a message last night from [President] Xi Jinping of China that his meeting with [North Korean leader] Kim Jong Un went very well and that Kim looks forward to his meeting with me."

    Earlier this week, Trump announced his decision to meet Kim Jong-un before the end of May, with the White House yet to define the details of the meeting, including a date, time and location.

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    Tags:
    warplanes, deployment, relationship, alliance, capability, presentation, F-35A, South Korea, United States
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