US-South Korea Hold Security Meeting

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta welcomed South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin at the Pentagon this week for the 44th US-South Korea security consultative meeting. Panetta said the two countries would continue to enhance “close alliance cooperation” in areas such as stabilization and reconstruction, disaster relief, counterproliferation, and the interoperability between their forces in advance of the 2015 transition of wartime control on the Korean Peninsula. Panetta also announced the signing of the terms of reference for a bilateral military space cooperation agreement that formalizes a joint defense working group to address space policy, training, equipping, and capabilities. In the joint communique released after the Oct. 24 meeting, the two nations shared their common view that the revised missile guidance recently announced by the South Koreans is a “key component” of a regional approach to counter North Korean missile threats. (South Korea will now develop ballistic missiles with ranges up to 800 kilometers (approximately 500 miles) in place of the previous limit of 300 km, reported Reuters earlier this month.) Kim also confirmed that South Korea would enhance its ISR capabilities to counter missile threats. (Panetta-Kim transcript)