Wednesday, May 16, 2012

U.S.-South Korea Alliance Provides Security in Northeast Asia

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 16, 2012 - The U.S.-South Korea alliance provides security and stability in Northeast Asia and that partnership will continue into the future, said Brig. Gen. Kang Yong-hee, chief of public affairs for the South Korean Army.

The United States and South Korea today stand together to face the threat posed by North Korea, Kang said in an interview with the Pentagon Channel. That partnership, he said, stems from the two nations' comradeship during the Korean War.

"We fought together to protect values we both share -- freedom and democracy," Kang said. "I think this experience is the founding stone of the ROK [South Korea]-U.S. alliance."

North Korea has a 6 million-man military out of a population of 23 million. An armistice, rather than a peace treaty, ended the Korean War, which was fought from 1950 to 1953. Technically, this means the North and South are still at war.

The United States has about 28,000 troops serving in South Korea who exercise and train with their South Korean counterparts. They are seasoned by 10 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan and are passing lessoned learned to their South Korean counterparts.

"I think the realistic, action oriented training system based on real combat experience has been very helpful," Kang said.

South Korea is scheduled to assume wartime command of allied forces on the peninsula in 2015.

"As we develop our level of cooperation beyond the realm of military and security to areas such as politics, economics, society and culture, we need to enhance our military partnership beyond operational level," Kang said. "I believe we can achieve that."

During his visit, Kang received briefings and met with officials at the Pentagon. He also visited Fort Meade, Md., where he toured the studios of the Defense Media Activity.

Related Sites:
State Department Background Note on South Korea

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