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General Dempsey: US will defend South Korea against North

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
"Chairman Dempsey reaffirmed the unwavering commitment of the United States to the defense of the ROK (South Korea)," a Pentagon statement said on Friday.

The top American general says the United States will defend its close ally South Korea amid heightening tensions between the South and North Korea.

General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Friday that the US and South Korea will cooperate against any possible threats by North Korea.

 Dempsey made the comments in a phone call to a senior South Korean counterpart, according to a Pentagon statement.

"Chairman Dempsey reaffirmed the unwavering commitment of the United States to the defense of the ROK (South Korea) and reiterated the strength of the US-ROK alliance," a Pentagon statement said.

According to the statement, Dempsey and Admiral Choi Yoon-Hee agreed to remain vigilant about the North’s actions.

Dempsey and Admiral Choi Yoon-Hee "concurred they would watch North Korea's actions closely in the coming days and would ensure that the US and ROK continue to work closely with one another to deter further North Korean provocations and defuse tensions".

North Korea had set a deadline for the South to stop propaganda or face military action till Saturday. However, Seoul is still involved in a series of military drills with the US forces, known as Ulchi Freedom Guardian 2015.

Meanwhile, the officials of the two Koreas had agreed to hold talks Saturday as each country’s armies faced off across the border on high alert.

"The South and the North agreed to hold contact related to the ongoing situation in South-North relations," Kim Kyou-hyun, the presidential Blue House's deputy national security adviser, said in a televised briefing.

Top aides to the leaders of the two countries were scheduled to meet at the Panmunjom truce village which straddles their border.

The meeting was supposed to take place half an hour after North Korea's deadline had passed.

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