South Korea’s Moon Jae-in honored fallen U.S. soldiers of the Korean War on Wednesday. File Photo by Jeon Heon-kyun/EPA
Oct. 25 (UPI) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in reaffirmed the bilateral alliance with the United States while attending a ceremony at Seoul National Cemetery.
Moon, who has visited the cemetery reserved for war veterans, said the "ironclad" alliance stands against North Korea provocations.
"With an ironclad U.S.-South Korea alliance, now more than ever the [South Korean] government is responding strongly to North Korea provocations," the South Korean leader said. "In close coordination with the international community the highest level of sanctions and pressure are being placed into effect."
"We will block all North Korea provocations at all costs," he added.
The South Korean president also said the crisis on the peninsula is growing, but "our desire for peace will not be broken."
Moon was speaking at a memorial for soldiers who died while fighting enemy troops at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir, an early North Korea campaign of the 1950-53 Korean War.
The campaign managed to force the 1st Marine Division of the U.S. X Corps to evacuate to South Korea, but the Marines fought their way down a rickety country road through several mountain passes before they reached ships at the coast.
Moon said the U.S. troops then played a critical role in evacuating 100,000 refugees, including his parents, to safety in the South.
"My parents were refugees who were rescued in the Hungnam evacuation," Moon said. "I express my respect and gratitude to the warriors of Changjin."
U.S. President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet with Moon in two weeks, more than four months after the two leaders met in Washington, D.C., for their first summit.
In a separate event, Commander of U.S. Forces Korea Vincent Brooks said Wednesday the United States remains strongly committed to the alliance, South Korean news service Digital Times reported.
Brooks also said forces on the peninsula are doing their utmost to maintain peace on the peninsula, according to the report.