FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
U.S. Commander Reaffirms U.S. Commitment to South Korea
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 7, 2013 - The top U.S. and United Nations commander in Korea today reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to South Korea's defense and urged North Korea to cease provocative actions.
Army Gen. James D. Thurman, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, United Nations Command and Combined Forces Command, addressed a recent North Korean threat to nullify the 1953 armistice that ended open warfare on the Korean Peninsula.
"For 60 years, the armistice agreement has ensured peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula," he said. "It concerns me when any signatory to a mutual agreement makes a public statement contrary to that agreement.
"As the UNC commander, I am charged to fully enforce the conditions of the armistice," Thurman continued. "The success of the armistice has enabled the Republic of Korea to become a vibrant democracy, and we remain ready to defend the Republic of Korea."
The United States calls on North Korea to refrain from additional provocative actions that would violate its international obligations and run counter to its commitments, the general added.
The latest provocations come on the heels of the U.N. Security Council agreeing to new sanctions after a third North Korean nuclear test last month.
Threats of provocations will only further isolate North Korea and undermine international efforts to ensure peace and stability in Northeast Asia, said Army Lt. Col. Cathy Wilkinson, a Pentagon spokeswoman. "The United States is firmly committed to the defense of the Republic of Korea and to the maintenance of regional peace and stability," she added.
Wilkinson also noted that annual defense-oriented training exercises such as "Key Resolve" and "Foal Eagle" are designed to increase alliance readiness to defend South Korea, protect the region and maintain stability on the Korean Peninsula.