Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, commander of U.S. Seventh Fleet, and Vice Adm. Um, Hyun-seong, commander of the Republic of Korea Fleet (COMROKFLT), render salutes during a ceremonial pass and review of COMROKFLT sailors. (Photo courtesy of Republic of Korea Fleet)

BUSAN, Republic of Korea - The commander of U.S. 7th Fleet visited the Republic of Korea, Sept. 21 to meet with senior Republic of Korea (ROK) navy leaders and affirm his commitment to the enduring U.S. and ROK alliance.

During his first visit to the peninsula since assuming command Sept. 7, Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin met with the commander of the Republic of Korea Fleet Vice Adm. Um, Hyun-seong to discuss and strengthen the longstanding U.S. and ROK partnership.

"I am here [in Korea] for one simple reason, and that is to show the U.S. Navy's absolute resolve and commitment to this alliance and this great nation," said Aucoin. "The Republic of Korea is a cornerstone to the stability throughout this region, and we will continue to work with our ROK partners to ensure that hard fought stability remains."

Upon his arrival to Busan, Aucoin received ROK ceremonial honors and attended the Commander Republic of Korea Fleet (COMROKFLT) operational update brief.

"I want to thank you [Aucoin] for visiting today," said Um. "Under your leadership I look forward to our navies working closer together and strengthening our alliance."

After the briefing Aucoin echoed Um's comments when he emphasized the importance of ongoing bilateral cooperation.

"We must work together," said Aucoin. "We must have consistent cooperation between our staffs so we can roll up our sleeves when needed and solve any problem we may mutually encounter."

The U.S. and ROK navies have an enduring partnership strengthened by the mutual sacrifice to bring security and stability to the Korean Peninsula. The two nations work together throughout the year in annual joint exercises, various community relations projects and continual participation in official ceremonies.

Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea is the regional commander for the U.S. Navy in the Republic of Korea and provides expertise on naval matters to area military commanders, including the Commander for the United Nations Command, the Combined Forces Command and Commander, U.S. Forces Korea.

The U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Asia-Pacific area of operations. As the U.S. Navy's largest numbered fleet, 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build maritime partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability and prevent conflict.