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U.S. Pledges Prompt Military Aid to S. Korea

Posted October. 18, 2008 09:12,   


After the 40th Security Consultative Meeting in Washington yesterday, the defense chiefs of South Korea and the United States issued a joint statement containing a U.S. pledge to promptly dispatch forces to the Korean Peninsula in case of war.

The two sides also agreed to have U.S. troops transfer 49 percent of their war reserves stockpile for allies to Korean forces.

The joint statement by Defense Minister Rhee Sang-hee and U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says that Washington will promptly offer an appropriate level of reinforcement in the event of emergency on the Korean Peninsula.

This is the first time that the meeting’s joint statement pledges quick reinforcement deployment by U.S. forces. A similar promise, however, was made in a mutual defense treaty.

“The U.S. made it clear that its security assurances on the Korean Peninsula remain intact regardless of the transfer of wartime operational control to Korean forces in April 2012,” a Defense Ministry official said. “The U.S. will provide sufficient military reinforcement (in case of war) to Korea. The size of reinforcement stated in the existing bilateral agreement will hardly change.”

Washington promised to send 690,000 troops, 160 warships and 2,000 airplanes under the existing agreement. Rhee and Gates also reportedly had in-depth discussions on military measures in response to various contingencies on the peninsula, such as North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s transfer of power due to poor health.

The positive outcome of the bilateral defense talks could help resume the development of the joint combined war scenario, code-named OPLAN 5027, which was disbanded by the previous Roh Moo-hyun administration.