10 Apr 15. Leaders Discuss U.S.-South Korea Relations. Defense Secretary Ash Carter met with South Korea’s National Security Advisor Director Kim Kwan-jin in Seoul to reaffirm the U.S.-South Korea alliance, according to a Defense Department statement. Carter is on his first trip to the Asia-Pacific region as defense secretary. Carter and Kim, who have known each other for several years, discussed the importance of their countries’ relationship in deterring North Korea’s nuclear, weapons of mass destruction, and ballistic missile threats, the release said. The two leaders also discussed how those threats continue to put the Korean Peninsula’s stability and security at risk, and how the U.S-South Korea alliance is a linchpin of the U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific, according to the release. During the leaders’ meeting, Carter made clear that as an alliance, the United States and South Korea continue to stand shoulder to shoulder to address those threats and respond to any provocation, the release stated. The leaders covered ongoing progress in strengthening the alliance, including implementing the joint decision to move to a conditions-based transfer of wartime operational control, and the December 2014 trilateral South Korea-U.S.-Japan information-sharing agreement to help deter North Korean aggression, the release said. Carter also expressed his personal interest in further strengthening the U.S.-South Korea alliance, which has growing importance to peace and stability around the globe, according to the release. (Source: US DoD)
10 Apr 15. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter met with Republic of Korea President Park Geun-hye in Seoul during his first trip to the Asia-Pacific as Secretary of Defense and ahead of President Park’s upcoming visit to Washington. Secretary Carter and President Park reaffirmed the strength and importance of the enduring alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK) — both in deterring North Korean threats to security and stability on the Korean peninsula, and in helping assure continued peace and prosperity throughout the Asia-Pacific region. They discussed a wide range of bilateral, regional, and global issues relevant to the U.S.-ROK alliance, including broadening allied security cooperation into new domains like space and cyberspace. Secretary Carter noted that the U.S.-ROK alliance continues to be a linchpin of peace and security in the region and increasingly around the world.
09 Apr 15. Tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia deepen over conflict in Yemen. Tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia deepened on Thursday as Iranian leaders lashed out with rare vehemence against the continuing Saudi air campaign in Yemen, even hurling personal insults at the young Saudi prince who is leading the fight. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, on Thursday denounced the Saudi airstrikes in Yemen as “a crime” and “a genocide,” while all but taunting Saudi Arabia that its war in Yemen was doomed to fail. A regional coalition led by Saudi Arabia extended its bombing campaign for a 16th night in its effort to stop the Houthi movement and its allies from dominating Yemen. The Houthis nonetheless continued their advance, and aid groups warned of a compounding humanitarian catastrophe, particularly in the port city of Aden. Secretary of State John Kerry sharply warned Iran over its backing for the other side of the conflict in Yemen, in the first explicit American accusation that Tehran has been providing military aid to the Houthis. Washington was “not going to stand by while the region is destabilized,” Mr. Kerry said in an interview with “PBS NewsHour” on Wednesday night.
“There are obviously supplies that have been coming from Iran,” he added. “There are a number of flights every single week that have been flying in. We trace those flights, and we know this. We are well aware of the support that Iran has been giving to Yemen.”
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