There have been voices of concern about Seoul and Washington scaling down or ending certain joint military drills. It's feared that could weaken the allies' defense readiness against North Korean threats when Pyeongyang has yet to take any big steps toward complete denuclearization.
But U.S. Forces Korea Commander General Robert Abrams has dismissed those worries. In an exclusive interview with Yonhap News Agency on Wednesday, Abrams said the ROK-U.S. military alliance is absolutely committed to ensuring that it's ready to deal with any crisis or potential hostilities.
He stressed that the combined forces are doing everything necessary to assure their readiness as a force. Citing his 37 years of experience in the military, Abrams reassured the public that his troops train at every level to be prepared for any situation.
In regards to the diplomatic situation with North Korea having changed dramatically in the last year, General Abrams said the ROK-U.S. military alliance has to adjust how it meets its responsibilities to maintain a trained and ready force while creating space for diplomacy to work.
So to support the ongoing peace efforts with Pyeongyang, Abrams said Seoul and Washington are not publicizing all of their joint military exercises, something they used to do to show the region that the alliance is strong and acts as a deterrent.
As for the American troops stationed in South Korea, he said they have nothing to do with any potential peace treaty with North Korea, and that their presence is a decision solely for the alliance. Kan Hyeong-woo, Arirang News