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U.S., S. Korean defense chiefs discuss Korean Peninsula situation over phone

(Xinhua)

08:48, December 31, 2011

WASHINGTON, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and his South Korean counterpart Kim Kwan-jin have discussed the situation on the Korean Peninsula during a telephone conversation, the Pentagon said on Friday.

During the 20-minute phone call on Thursday evening, the two defense chiefs "shared the view that peace and stability on the Korean peninsula is our overarching priority and agreed to maintain close cooperation and coordination in the weeks and months ahead," Pentagon Press Secretary George Little told reporters.

The conversation was held after the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) held a state funeral on Wednesday for its late leader Kim Jong Il, who died from "great mental and physical strain" on a train during a field guidance tour on Dec. 17.

Pentagon officials said last week that there were no indications of new tensions on the peninsula, so the alert levels for U.S. troops stationed in South Korea were not raised.

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