SEOUL — The top defense officials from South Korea and United States emerged from an annual one-day meeting in Washington on Friday expressing “satisfaction” with recent troop reduction and relocation plans, and a warning to North Korea that any use of weapons of mass destruction would be met with “the gravest consequences.”

U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and South Korean Minister of National Defense Yoon Kwang-ung held a joint press conference and issued a three-page, 13-point “joint communiqué” after the 36th Security Consultative Meeting.

Rumsfeld and Yoon, along with senior defense and foreign affairs officials from both nations, discussed U.S. military capabilities in South Korea, the reduction of forces by 12,500 troops over the next three years and the threat posed by North Korea, the Pentagon said.

“Both agreed that initiatives to enhance combined capabilities, transfer military missions, and realign U.S. forces based in [South] Korea, once fully implemented, will significantly strengthen the alliance while adapting it to changes in the global security environment,” the joint statement read.

“Noting those changes, the Secretary and the Minister once again affirmed the continuing importance of the strategic flexibility of U.S. forces in” South Korea.

Both sides agreed the 50-year alliance between the two nations — colored mainly by the Cold War — must adapt to “changes in the global security environment.”

Part of that change is relocating U.S. bases to areas south of Seoul and spending $11 billion over the next three years to increase high-tech capabilities of both sides.

The two sides also reviewed the transfer of 10 military mission areas from U.S. to South Korean troops, emphasizing the “importance of maintaining readiness” as the transfers and realignment occur, the statement read.

On North Korea, the two sides said the reduction of U.S. troops on the peninsula “would not weaken the combined deterrent and defensive capabilities of the alliance and warned that for anyone to perceive such a weakening would be a mistake.”

The two men also renewed their call for North Korea to “cease the testing, development, deployment, and export of weapons of mass destruction, missiles, and related technologies.”

The North has denied seeking to export nuclear technology, saying its weapons program is its own “war deterrent” against U.S. aggression.

Also Friday, Rumsfeld thanked South Korean officials for deploying some 3,000 troops to Iraq and Afghanistan. The deployment is largely unpopular in South Korea — the government increased its terror alert level after threats related to the troops’ presence in Iraq.

At the press conference, Yoon said the Future of the Alliance Policy Initiative — the framework on which base realignment decisions have been made — was “very successful.”

“But,” he said, according to a Pentagon transcript of the briefing, “in the future we have a need to continue that type of dialogue. Therefore, we’re going to call this new mechanism [the] Strategic Policy Initiative, through which we will continue to develop the solidarity and unity of the alliance.”

Questions for Rumsfeld were dominated by Iraq, with one reporter asking if a widening insurgency would qualify as a quagmire.

After a long list of what he called encouraging signs of progress, Rumsfeld dismissed the question and told the reporter, “Now, you can call that a quagmire if you’d like to, but it’s at your option.”

On Thursday, the two countries’ chairmen of the joints chief of staff met for similar meetings. Gen. Richard Myers of the United States emerged from his meeting with South Korean Gen. Kim Jong-hwan saying U.S. military capability would not be weakened by the reduction or relocation plans.

The two chiefs met for the Military Committee Meeting, a day ahead of the SCM talks.

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