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S. Korea DM stresses stronger ties with US amid N. Korean threats

TOKYO, June 23 (KUNA) -- South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup on Thursday reaffirmed his country's commitment to further strengthening its alliance with the US, pointing to the "very grave" security threats from North Korea, Yonhap News Agency reported.
"Due to the advances in North Korea's nuclear and missile capabilities, and its preparations for a seventh nuclear test, the security situation on the Korean Peninsula is very grave," Lee was quoted as saying at a meeting in Seoul with former and current South Korean and US officials.
"Our military will always strengthen the South Korea-US alliance further and firmly defend South Korea," the minister said.
His remarks come as concerns have grown about the possibility of the North carrying out its seventh nuclear experiment at the Punggye-ri testing site, according to the report.
The Korea-US Alliance Foundation and the Korea Defense Veterans Association hosted Thursday's gathering, titled "National Prayer Breakfast Meeting for Strengthening National Security and the ROK-US Alliance." At the meeting, Foreign Minister Park Jin also delivered a speech highlighting Seoul's concerns over Pyongyang's evolving military threats. Park pointed out that the North's military capabilities are threatening peace not only on the Korean Peninsula but also in the world, and that the allies are working together toward the shared goal of the North's complete denuclearization ultimately for the sake of "sustainable peace." (end) mk.mt