U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis said on Friday that the United States does not seek war but denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The U.S. defense chief arrived at South Korea earlier in the day and visited the Joint Security Area (JSA) at the truce village of Panmunjom on the first day of his two-day trip.
During the visit, Mattis said his country's goal was not war but a complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the peninsula, according to local media reports.
He said the United States stood shoulder-to-shoulder with South Korea against threats from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
Inside the JSA, soldiers of South Korea and the DPRK stand face-to-face just meters away from each other. It marked the U.S. secretary of defense's first visit to Panmunjom inside the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas.
Mattis, who took office in January, made his first trip to South Korea in February, but he did not visit the JSA at that time.