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JCS chief checks military's readiness from AEW&C plane

All Headlines 12:43 January 01, 2017

SEOUL, Jan. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's top general checked the readiness of the country's armed forces on board an E737 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft, the military said Sunday.

Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) Chairman Gen. Lee Sun-jin flew on the twin-engine plane on Saturday and personally reviewed the operational preparedness of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, official source said.

The converted B737 plane that acts as an airborne command center took off from Seongnam Air Base (K-16) just south of Seoul and flew over the Taean Peninsula with Lee making contact with the Marine Corps' 6th Brigade in charge of the Northwest Islands near the North Korean sea border. The plane, referred to as the Peace Eye, then flew east, and the four-star general contacted a regimental commander along the demilitarized zone (DMZ) to get a situation brief about troop readiness.

The 257-kilometer-long DMZ is the land border between the two Koreas that are technically still at war since the Korean War (1950-53) ended in a ceasefire and not a peace treaty.

Lee then talked to the captain of the destroyer Yang Manchun in the East Sea and the leader of an F-16 flight that flew near the E737, who made clear that the Air Force will deal decisively with all manner of provocations by Pyongyang.

Lee told troops that there is a good chance that the North will engage in some sort of strategic or tactical provocation because complicated political developments are expected for South Korea in 2017.

He urged all troops to be ready to defend the country at all costs.

"The armed forces must be prepared for any contingencies, and if the North provokes the South, respond in a decisive and firm manner," he said.

yonngong@yna.co.kr
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