US assures South Korea of 'close cooperation' on North
The United States will make sure South Korea is involved in any "steps to be taken" on North Korea, according to Seoul's Blue House presidential office Friday following high-level talks between the two sides.
National Security Office chief Chung Eui-yong spoke with American counterpart H.R. McMaster over the phone Friday morning for 40 minutes, days after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened the North with "fire and fury" if Pyongyang's authoritarian regime threatens his country.
Since Trump's statement on Tuesday, however, both North Korea and the U.S. have continued to warn of attacks on or near one another.
The North's state-run KCNA news agency cited officials Thursday claiming that America's regional military strategy and sanctions risk inviting "a shameful defeat and final doom".
While Seoul has insisted the door to inter-Korean dialogue remains open, Trump maintained Thursday that Pyongyang can be "very, very nervous" if it even thinks of attacking the U.S. or its allies, including South Korea.
With concerns rising of a possible American preemptive strike on the North, Chung and McMaster "discussed current security conditions surrounding the Korean Peninsula caused by North Korean provocations and heightened tension, and ways to deal with such threats," Blue House spokesman Park Soo-hyun was quoted by Yonhap News Agency as telling reporters.
"The two sides reaffirmed their promise to closely and transparently cooperate on the steps to be taken in each stage to help ensure the security and safety of both South Korea, the United States and their people," Park added.