S. Korea says U.S. troop shift won't affect war strategies
SEOUL — South Korean defense officials say restructuring U.S. troop locations on the peninsula would be accompanied by heightened security measures and would not affect command structures or war strategies.
At a press briefing at the Ministry of National Defense earlier this week, officials said a series of video conference systems, satellite communications and liaison offices would ensure continuity while any large-scale troop movements are under way.
“There is no problem in South Korea’s and the United States’ combined deterrence and preparation posture, as the methods of waging war have changed,” said spokesman Nam Dae-yeon.
The two sides will “continue negotiating until the end of the year” on the timing and size of the move, he said.
Thousands of U.S. troops could be reshuffled around the peninsula and consolidated at bases south of Seoul, such as Camp Humphreys and Osan Air Base, officials have said.
While a specific agreement so far has eluded negotiators from both countries, the end result would include massive and costly moves.
South Korean officials have estimated the moves will cost $3 billion.
American officials repeatedly have stressed any move away from the Demilitarized Zone would be accompanied by an increase in high-tech weapons and systems.
The U.S. military says it will pour $11 billion in technological upgrades to American and South Korean forces on the peninsula.
And on his visit to South Korea last week, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the increased lethality of forces that remain would make up for any reduction in troop numbers.
“What I see is the circumstance evolving over the coming decade with us making some adjustments, with the Republic of Korea making some adjustments, and each of us transforming our forces in ways that will take advantage of the new technologies that exist and the ability to use precision munitions, for example,” he told troops at an Osan Air Base town hall meeting.
“And that will be something that will increase our capability and certainly assure that we keep a very stable, healthy deterrent.”