On his first trip to the Asia-Pacific region, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited South Korea on March 17.
“I am here to express, again, and reaffirm the ironclad alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea, which does serve as the linchpin for security and stability in the Korean Peninsula,” said Tillerson, the top diplomat of the United States.
During the visit, Tillerson met with South Korean Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn and Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se to discuss the ongoing security and economic interests shared by the two countries.
Hwang said that he hoped Tillerson’s visit “will serve as an opportunity to reconfirm our common will to maintain and develop a strong alliance, and a strong combined defense posture, as well as serve as an opportunity to hold in-depth discussions on the various issues.”
Tillerson agreed, saying that he wanted to stress “the importance of our strong and historic people-to-people ties, our growing economic cooperation, and as [Hwang] mentioned, our strong alliance around security.”
Secretary Tillerson: U.S.-Korea alliance is lynchpin for security and stability in the Korean Peninsula. pic.twitter.com/17OI3pRmJm
— Department of State (@StateDept) March 17, 2017
The ties between South Korea and the United States are strong. South Korea is now the United States’ sixth-largest trading partner and home to more than 28,500 U.S. troops.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis also visited South Korea and Japan earlier this year in his first trip abroad.
Tilllerson visited Japan March 15–16 and will continue on to China for meetings March 18.