Lee Visits Pentagon

President Lee Myung-bak visited the U.S. Defense Department on Wednesday afternoon and received an unplanned briefing on the security situation on the Korean Peninsula from top military officials.

Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin, presidential secretary for foreign affairs and national security Chun Young-woo, and secretary for national security strategy Kim Tae-hyo accompanied Lee when he met U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, and most of the chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Forces, according to Cheong Wa Dae.

After the briefing, the two defense chiefs met separately face-to-face.

Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Park Jeong-ha said, "It is very rare for top U.S. defense officials to brief a foreign head of state, and it is certainly unprecedented for Korean presidents. This shows the importance and closeness of the Korea-U.S. alliance."

There is speculation that the sudden briefing was prompted by unusual movements by the North Korean military, but Cheong Wa Dae denied this, saying it is merely "part of efforts to strengthen the alliance" and is "not related to any special and pressing issues."

englishnews@chosun.com / Oct. 13, 2011 12:52 KST