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U.S., South Korea to bolster alliance at talks but questions remain

Added 12-01-21 06:35:01am EST - “U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin arrived in South Korea on Wednesday for annual security talks expected to bolster the countries' decades-long military alliance in the face of North Korean nuclear threats and mounting challenges…” - Washingtontimes.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Washingtontimes.com: “U.S., South Korea to bolster alliance at talks but questions remain”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin arrived in South Korea on Wednesday for annual security talks expected to bolster the countries’ decades-long military alliance in the face of North Korean nuclear threats and mounting challenges from China.

The U.S.-South Korea alliance “is the linchpin of peace and security in this region,” Austin tweeted after landing.

But how substantially the alliance, sealed in the bloodshed of the 1950-53 Korean War, can be solidified is in doubt as South Korea remains locked in thorny historical disputes with Japan — another key American regional ally — and hesitates to actively join U.S.-led efforts to curb China’s rising strength.

“The alliance faces some obstacles. It’s not desirable for the South Korea-Japan history issue and other problems to work as obstacles” in South Korea‘s national security, said Moon Seong Mook, a retired South Korean army general and analyst at the Korea Research Institute for National Strategy.

The meeting Thursday between Austin and his South Korean counterpart, Suh Wook, comes after the Pentagon released the results of a global posture review earlier this week. The review directs additional cooperation with allies and partners to deter “potential Chinese military aggression and threats from North Korea,” while informing Austin’s approval of the permanent stationing of a previously rotational attack helicopter squadron and artillery division headquarters in South Korea.

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