23:55 GMT18 April 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during talks in Seoul with his South Korean counterpart Chung Eui-yong emphasized Washington’s commitment to defend the country against any use of force, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Wednesday.

    “The Secretary and the Foreign Minister emphasized that North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile issues are a priority for the Alliance, and reaffirmed a shared commitment to address and resolve these issues,” Price said in a statement after Blinken's bilateral meeting. “They discussed the United States’ ongoing DPRK policy review and highlighted our shared commitment to strengthening the Alliance, defending against any use of force, and keeping America, the ROK, and our allies safe.”

    Both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening their bilateral alliance and emphasized the importance of trilateral cooperation with Japan in order to maintain peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region, Price said.

    “The Secretary and the Foreign Minister committed to closely coordinating on all issues related to the Korean Peninsula, tackling COVID-19, pressing the military in Burma to restore the democratically elected government, and combatting the climate crisis,” Price said.

    Both sides also initialed the draft text for the 11th Special Measures Agreement (SMA), a defense cost-sharing agreement.

    “Upon conclusion and entry into force, this multi-year agreement on defense burden sharing is expected to strengthen our Alliance and combined defense posture and is the result of sincere efforts by both sides to ensure our Alliance remains mutually beneficial, enhances our ability to prevent and deter aggression, and advances our shared goals of peace, security, and prosperity,” the State Department said in a media note.

    Blinken arrived in Seoul earlier on Wednesday after a trip to Tokyo.

    defence, Antony Blinken, China, North Korea, US State Department, Seoul, South Korea, US
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