Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper spoke today with Republic of Korea (ROK) Minister of National Defense Jeong Kyeong-doo to reaffirm the strength of the U.S.-ROK alliance and the close coordination between the defense authorities of the two countries.
The two leaders discussed the security environment on the Korean Peninsula and committed to continue supporting diplomatic efforts to achieve the complete denuclearization of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula. Both sides also pledged to continue to maintain the combined defense posture and readiness of the ROK-U.S. Alliance to address the dynamic security environment on the Peninsula.
Secretary Esper and Minister Jeong addressed a broad range of defense issues, including Conditions-based OPCON Transition, Combined Training, and the Special Measures Agreement.
The Secretary and the Minister expressed their unwavering support for a conditions-based OPCON transition, consistent with the bilaterally-agreed Conditions-Based OPCON Transition Plan (COTP), and reaffirmed their consistent commitment to ensuring each of the conditions outlined in the COTP is fully met before transitioning the CFC to the F-CFC.
In addition, Secretary Esper and Minister Jeong also affirmed the importance of the rules-based international order and joint responses to shared threats like the global COVID-19 pandemic. The two leaders pledged their commitment to strengthen the bilateral relationship on the basis of shared values such as freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, while deepening the bilateral and multilateral cooperation for the continuing peace and stability of Northeast Asia.
Secretary Esper and Minister Jeong also committed to advance a number of bilateral defense issues at the Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) this fall.