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S. Korea to Lead 1st PSI Marine Drill in Oct.

Posted July. 17, 2010 08:05,   


A regional marine deterrence drill in the context of the Proliferation Security Initiative against weapons of mass destruction will be conducted near Busan for two days from October 13.

PSI is a concept that encompasses joint operations and information sharing aimed at preventing the proliferation of WMDs, including nuclear weapons and missiles. Ninety-four countries have signed the PSI agreement.

South Korea for the first time will lead the drill, which will entail the mobilization of three to five ships including anti-submarine and support vessels, maritime patrol aircraft (P-3C) and helicopters, and elite units of the Korean Navy and Coast Guard.

A ranking official at the South Korean Defense Ministry told a media briefing Thursday, “The ‘2+2 meeting,` or the Republic of Korea-U.S. Security Consultative Meeting of their foreign and defense ministers, will tackle the conduct of the PSI drill as a major agenda item when it convenes in Seoul Wednesday,” adding, “Preparation is proceeding well for the October drill according to schedule.”

“The drill will not be a bilateral exercise between South Korea and the U.S., and many countries having interest among those that joined PSI will take part.”

Japan, Australia and Singapore reportedly expressed interest in participation.

On the delayed transfer of wartime operational command to Seoul, the official said, “We’ll have the opportunity to check and evaluate a new plan to transfer the wartime operational command.”

“Discussions will be held on how South Korea and the U.S. will implement their responsibilities and building up the bilateral alliance.”

On the 2+2 meeting, the official said, “The meeting will be based on the two nations’ desire to expand and deepen relationship at the regional and global levels, as well as on the Korean Peninsula in line with the spirit of the bilateral alliance.”

A decision has yet to be made, however, on if the meeting will be held regularly.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will attend an event marking the 60th anniversary of the Korean War at the Korean War Memorial in Seoul during their visit to Korea next week and bring flowers for the victims of the Cheonan sinking.