United States Defence Secretary Harold Brown promised "prompt and effective aid" to any armed attack against South Korea when he arrived in Seoul on Wednesday (17 October).
United States Defence Secretary Harold Brown promised "prompt and effective aid" to any armed attack against South Korea when he arrived in Seoul on Wednesday (17 October). He was in the South Korean capital to attend the annual Security Consultative Meeting between the two countries. A joint communique issued after the three-day meeting on Friday (19 October) said that South Korea was vital to the security of America and a pivotal force in maintaining peace in Northeast Asia.
SYNOPSIS: Secretary Brown arrived at Kimpo Airport last Wednesday with U.S. Ambassador to South Korea, William Gleysteen, Jr., who had been recalled to Washington for consultations about the political situation in Seoul. The American delegation was met by South Korean Defence Minister Ro Jae-Hyun.
In his arrival statement, Secretary Brown, who is on his fourth visit to Seoul as Defence Secretary, said that he and his South Korean counterpart would review common efforts to improve and modernise the armed forces of South Korea. He stressed U.S. President Jimmy Carter's interest in the continuation of a mutual defence treaty, and said the 12th Security Consultative Meeting would give the two countries an opportunity to discuss security requirements and measures to ensure a military balance on the Korean peninsula. Secretary Brown went on to affirm U.S. intentions to remain as a stabilizing force in Northeast Asia and maintain strong forces in South Korea and throughout the Pacific.
After the official welcoming ceremonies at the airport, Secretary Brown and Defence Minister jae-Hyun went on to open this year's meeting.
It was dominated by South Korean and American assessments pointing to a greater North Korean military strength, much stronger than had previously been thought. As a result, President Carter last July ordered a freeze on a plan designed to phase out American ground troops from South Korea until 1981. The United States has also pledged technology and equipment sales aimed at improving South Korea's defenses.