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(LEAD) Park to host luncheon for senior USFK officers

All News 11:55 September 30, 2016

(ATTN: UPDATES with new info in 6th para)
By Song Sang-ho

SEOUL, Sept. 30 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye will host a luncheon for senior U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) officers Friday to highlight the importance of the bilateral alliance in coping with North Korea's evolving military threats, her office Cheong Wa Dae said.

The meeting, which will be held under the theme, "Partners for Safeguarding Peace," will bring together some 30 attendees, including Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, who leads the USFK, the South Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command and the U.N. Command.

Top South Korean defense officials will also be present, including Defense Minister Han Min-koo, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Lee Sun-jin and the chiefs of the Army, the Navy and Air Force, the presidential office said.

"President Park plans to stress the solid South Korea-U.S. alliance and the importance of the allies' combined readiness posture at a time when strong anti-Pyongyang sanctions and pressure are needed in response to the North's continued provocations, including its fifth nuclear test," presidential spokesman Jung Youn-kuk told reporters.

Pyongyang has recently been ratcheting up military tensions on the peninsula by conducting the fifth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 9 and continuously threatening to conduct additional provocations.

Before the event takes place, Seoul and Washington effectively picked a golf course in Seongju County, 296 kilometers southeast of Seoul, as the site for the deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense battery. The allies seek to station the battery in the county by end-2017 to better counter Pyongyang's nuclear and missile threats.

Some 28,500 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea mainly as a deterrent against North Korea's possible aggression.

This photo, taken on June 15, 2016, shows South Korean President Park Geun-hye (R) greeting U.S. Forces Korea Commander Vincent K. Brooks at the presidential office in Seoul. (Yonhap)


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