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Gen. Scaparrotti tapped as NATO's top commander

All Headlines 02:56 March 12, 2016

WASHINGTON, March 11 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Forces Korea Commander Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti has been named as NATO's top military commander, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced Friday.

President Barack Obama nominated Scaparrotti to replace Gen. Philip Breedlove as NATO's supreme allied commander Europe, and NATO has also agreed to the appointment, Carter said in a statement.

In addition to the NATO position, Scaparrotti will be assigned as commander of U.S. European Command, he said.

Scaparrotti has led USFK since August 2013.

He is the one who brought up the need for a THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) missile defense unit in South Korea for the first time in June, 2014, to better defend against threats from the North.

The U.S. desire to put a THAAD battery in the South put Seoul in a dilemma as China has expressed strong opposition, saying the system can be used against it. Washington has repeatedly stressed that the system is purely defensive and aimed only at deterring North Korean threats.

Ending the dilemma was North Korea's nuclear and missile tests in January and February. Immediately after the North's Feb. 7 long-range rocket launch, South Korea and the U.S. decided to launch official talks about THAAD deployment.

jschang@yna.co.kr
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