us defense chief to visit south korea next week on 1st overseas trip
Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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US defense chief to visit South Korea next week on 1st overseas trip

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Arab Today, arab today US defense chief to visit South Korea next week on 1st overseas trip

U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis
Seoul - ArabToday

U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis will officially visit South Korea next week on his first overseas trip since the Trump administration took office last week.

Seoul's defense ministry said Thursday that Defense Minister Han Min-koo will hold a meeting on Feb. 2 with the visiting U.S. defense chief who is scheduled to make a two-day trip through Feb. 3.

Mattis' visit reflects the importance of the Korean Peninsula and the Asia-Pacific region, the firm South Korea-U.S. alliance and the iron U.S. commitment to the bilateral defense treaty, the Seoul ministry said.

It would mark the first time for the Pentagon head to pick South Korea as the first overseas destination.

The U.S. defense chief may raise the issue of shortage in Seoul's financial contribution to U.S. forces stationed in South Korea.

During the 2016 campaign, U.S. President Donald Trump said South Korea should pay more for over 28,000 U.S. troops in its soil, the legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War.

The two defense ministers will talk about possible missile launches by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un said in his New Year's Day speech that his country had entered the final stage in preparations to test-fire a long-range ballistic rocket.

Issues possibly on the agenda would be the U.S. missile shield deployment in South Korea, which the two countries agreed upon in July last year.

The agreement to deploy Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) in southeastern South Korea by the end of this year triggered strong oppositions from China and Russia as its X-band radar can peer into territories of the two nations.

Following the South Korea trip, Mattis is set to travel to Japan for a two-day visit to one of the two U.S. allies in Northeast Asia.

source: Xinhua

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