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Maintaining Peace on the Korean Peninsula: The United States is committed to maintaining "peace and stability on the Korean peninsula" following the death of North Korea's leader in mid-December, said Pentagon spokesman George Little. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and South Korean Minister of Defense Kim Kwan-jin "agreed to maintain close cooperation and coordination in the weeks and months ahead" during a 20-minute phone call on Dec. 29, said Little. Kim Jong Il's third son, Kim Jong Un, is the communist nation's new leader following his father's death on Dec. 17. Despite concerns that the succession would increase tension between the two Koreas, Pentagon officials said North Korea had not made any provocations since the elder leader's death. The US alert level for troops stationed in South Korea also remained unchanged, they said. (AFPS report by Karen Parrish)