Posted July. 21, 2010 11:33,
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates selected Camp Casey of the U.S. Armys 2nd Infantry Division in the northern Seoul suburb of Dongducheon as the first place to visit in Korea.
His visit was to encourage U.S. forces in South Korea who are working on the frontlines of a country still technically at war, though they do not draw as much attention as U.S. forces in Afghanistan or Iraq.
His stop at Camp Casey, a symbol of solid deterrence against security threats to the Korean Peninsula threatened by the sinking of the Cheonan, was meant to send a strong message to North Korea. Camp Casey is only 20 kilometers south of the Demilitarized Zone.
Leaving the Seoul Grand Hyatt to go to the U.S. Army garrison in Seouls Yongsan district, Gates got on a UH60 Blackhawk chopper at 9:40 a.m. The helicopter has twin turbo engines, can go 25 kilometers per hour, and carry guided missiles on both sides.
The pilots seat has room for two pilots and one guide. The cabin can carry 11 fully armed soldiers.
On the chopper, Gates spoke of the 2+2 bilateral meeting of foreign and defense ministers in Seoul, saying the event will have Presidents Barack Obama and Lee Myung-bak discuss a variety of issues and further developing the alliance.
The transfer of wartime command control back to Seoul, which has been postponed to December 2015, will be a major agenda item at the meeting. Gates said South Korea is capable of commanding allied forces and militarily prepared based on professionalism.
He said the extra time given by the delayed command transfer will contribute to further developing the military alliance.
I will closely exchange views on the series of (South) Korea-U.S. joint military exercises for the next few months with (South) Korean Defense Minister Kim Tae-young, he said. This exercise in the East Sea and the Yellow Sea will become a strong signal for deterrence against North Korea.