November 15, 2023 11:23
The defense ministers of the 17 UN Command member nations that sent troops to fight for South Korea during the 1950-53 Korean War met for the first time on Tuesday.
The meeting marked the 70th anniversary of the armistice, but the two Koreas remain technically at war because no peace treaty was ever signed.
The South Korean government plans to hold the meeting regularly, hoping to reaffirm cooperation and solidarity.
President Yoon Suk-yeol sent a message to the meeting, which was read out by a Defense Ministry official, saying the UN Command is the powerful source of strength in defending South Korea.
"In the face of North Korea's nuclear and missile threats and continued provocations, I believe today's meeting will become a starting point for bolstering the cooperation and solidarity of partnering nations that share common values and will serve as a milestone towards the future," Yoon said.
Participants including U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, adopted a joint resolution in which they "declared that they will be united upon any renewal of hostilities or armed attack on the Korean Peninsula challenging the principles of the UN and the security" of South Korea.
Member nations "strongly condemned [North Korea's] unlawful nuclear and ballistic missile programs, which violate multiple UN Security Council resolutions," it added.
Established by UN decree following North Korea's attack on South Korea on June 25, 1950, the UN Command is a multinational military force whose member nations fought against North Korean and Chinese troops. A rump contingent is stationed at the inter-Korean border to ensure that the armistice is being observed.
A government official said, "The meeting marks the first discussion between South Korea and UN member countries on ways to deter war on the Korean Peninsula."
Korea plans to develop regular procedures and expansion strategies for UN Command in the future.
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