CEREMONY HELD TO MARK 41ST ANNIVERSARY OF ROK-U.S. COMBINED FORCES COMMAND

A ceremony was held to mark the 41 years of the establishment of the South Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command... regarded as the epitome of the two countries' alliance.
Kim Ji-yeon reports.
Some 400 service persons attended a ceremony on Thursday to mark the 41st anniversary of the establishment of the South Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command.
In a congratulatory message, President Moon Jae-in expressed his gratitude for the role the CFC has played in efforts to maintain peace on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia.
President Moon said the alliance's proud history will be forever maintained and that the core values the two countries share will always shine.
During the ceremony, the commander of U.S. Forces Korea, General Robert Abrams, also touted the alliance.
While remaining hopeful of ongoing diplomatic efforts, he said the force is always prepared to deter, and if necessary defeat any adversaries, apparently referring to North Korea.
"As we celebrate the 41st anniversary, I'm proud to report the Combined Forces Command is the heart and soul of the ROK-U.S. alliance which is stronger than ever before. We are ready to deter, defend and if necessarily defeat any adversaries who seek to do us harm. While we remain hopeful on our on-going diplomatic efforts we remain vigilant, prepared."
The CFC, established in 1978 currently headquartered in Seoul, is expected to move to Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul... where the U.S. Forces Korea and the United Nations Command are located.
"The anniversary ceremony comes at a time when several contentious issues threaten to test the alliance."
The two countries are scheduled to engage in talks on defense costs-sharing... amid speculations that WASHINGTON has asked Seoul to pay an annual five-billion U.S. dollars... significantly higher than Seoul's current contribution of 870-million dollars.
Seoul's decision to let its military intel-sharing pact with Japan, or GSOMIA expire this month.... due to its loss of trust in Tokyo... is also expected to have fueled Washington's frustration as the U.S. sees this accord as being vital to the trilateral security cooperation in Northeast Asia.
Also, the role of the U.S.-led UNC is hotly contested... leading many to believe that the U.S. wants to still maintain its military authority over the peninsula even after Washington completes the transfer of wartime operational control to South Korea.
Kim Ji-yeon, Arirang News.



Source: Arirang News
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