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Rumsfeld Reaffirms U.S. Promise to Republic of Korea

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 20, 2006 – The U.S. commitment to regard any attack on the Republic of Korea as an attack on itself was one of the topics raised as Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and South Korean Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung participated in the 38th annual U.S.- Republic of Korea Security Consultative Meeting in the Pentagon today.

Rumsfeld called the meeting “most significant, given North Korea’s most recent action.” North Korea’s nuclear test in defiance of the will of the international community and resulting U.N. Security Council resolution about the test were among the items the two defense leaders discussed.

“The United States reaffirms its firm commitment to the Republic of Korea, including continuation of the extended deterrence offered by the U.S. nuclear umbrella consistent with the Mutual Defense Treaty,” Rumsfeld said during a Pentagon news conference following the meeting.

The two delegations also discussed ways to maintain and increase defense preparedness, the realignment and transition of command relationships of U.S. forces in the Republic of Korea, and South Korea’s commitment to the war on terror. Rumsfeld and Yoon also discussed South Korea’s troop deployment to Afghanistan and Iraq.

“Our alliance, now more than 50 years old, was forged and tested in the first years of the Cold War,” Rumsfeld said. “Now, as then, the United States of America is committed to the defense of the Republic of Korea. The alliance remains strong and important to the interests of both our countries as well as northeast Asia.”

Yoon said through a translator that he and Rumsfeld agreed on the wartime operational control transition issue. But the two countries still must work out how soon the Republic of Korea can assume wartime control. The United States believes the South Korean military can assume control by the end of 2009. The South Koreans want to wait until 2012.

Yoon said other items discussed included relocation of the Yongsan garrison. The garrison, in the heart of Seoul, will move to Camp Humphries. The men discussed the further realignment of U.S. Force in Korea, and South Korean defense reforms.

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Donald H. Rumsfeld

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The 38th Security Consultative Meeting Joint Communique

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