SCMP: In South Korea, Austin and Blinken continue US message of countering China’s ‘coercion and aggression’
* The US secretaries of state and defence also reaffirmed Washington’s commitment to the alliance with Seoul, and to the denuclearisation of North Korea * The improvement of ties between Japan and South Korea was discussed as crucial to deal with threats ‘on and around the Korean peninsula’
The United States has continued with its message of countering Beijing’s “coercion and aggression” as Secretary of State Antony Blinken and defence secretary Lloyd Austin held one-on-one meetings with their counterparts in Seoul, a day after similar sessions in Japan.
But South Korea, which counts China as its biggest economic partner, kept the focus strictly on the importance of its alliance with the US in deterring nuclear-armed North Korea and seeking a revival of talks with Pyongyang that stalled two years ago.
After his meeting with defence minister Suh Wook, Austin on Wednesday said the alliance with South Korea had never been more important given the “unprecedented challenges” posed by North Korea and China, calling the compact a linchpin for peace, security and prosperity in Northeast Asia.
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WNU Editor: South Korea and the U.S. will find common ground when it comes to North Korea. On China there are going to be differences …. Biden team's China focus puts S.Korea on the spot (Reuters).
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