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S. Korea rejects U.S.' unilateral push to send German officer to UNC

Defense 15:22 July 11, 2019

SEOUL, July 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korea strongly opposed a potential dispatch of a German officer to the U.S.-led United Nations Command (UNC) as the plan was pushed without prior consultation with Seoul, the defense ministry here said Thursday.

During vice ministerial-level talks between Seoul and Berlin on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore in May, South Korea learned of the fact that the United States had planned to have a liaison officer from the German military at the UNC.

South Korea had remained ignorant of the issue until then, as the U.S. had never discussed the issue with Seoul before.

"It was to have taken place without prior discussions with or consent from our government. So we strongly appealed (to Germany) that we cannot accept the plan," Col. Roh Jae-cheon, the deputy ministry spokesman, said at a regular briefing.

"The participating countries are supposed to support our exercise of the self-defense right upon our request. So any fresh dispatch shall require our consent," he noted,

Asked about the U.S.' intention to push to add Germany to the UNC, Roh refused to comment, simply saying that South Korea and the UNC have maintained close coordination over its activities.

Established in 1950 under a U.N. mandate in response to North Korea's military provocations, the UNC has played a role as the enforcer of the armistice agreement that halted the 1950-53 Korean War.

The UNC currently has 16 sending states, excepting South Korea and the U.S., that are to provide combat troops, equipment and other forms of support in case of a contingency on the peninsula.

Since 2014, the UNC has been pushing for a revitalization campaign to ostensibly deepen its commitment on the Korean peninsula by securing more contributions from the member states and having senior officials exclusively dedicated to their UNC roles.

Some experts have said such an initiative appears to aim at enhancing America's influence over the peninsula even after the envisioned transfer of wartime operational control from Washington to Seoul and at preserving the U.S.-led regional security order challenged by an assertive China.

S. Korea rejects U.S.' unilateral push to send German officer to UNC - 1

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