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No secret plan to turn U.N. Command into operational headquarters: commander

Defense 16:44 October 17, 2019

SEOUL, Oct. 17 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Forces Korea Commander Gen. Robert Abrams said Thursday that no secret plan exists to transform the U.S.-led United Nations Command (UNC) into an operational command, calling such speculation "fake news."

The U.S. has been trying to strengthen UNC under what is dubbed a "revitalization campaign," spawning suspicions it could be seeking to keep control of military operations on the Korean Peninsula via UNC even after the transfer of wartime operational control of South Korean forces from Washington to Seoul.

"There is no secret plan to somehow have UNC become operational headquarters. That is what some people would classify as fake news," Abrams said during the 5th Future Ground Forces Development International Symposium in Seoul.

Stressing UNC's two fundamental missions of enforcing the armistice agreement that halted the 1950-53 Korean War and being the "coordinating headquarters for potential troop contribution by U.N. sending states" in the case of a crisis, Abrams said, the revitalization campaign is to allow the short-staffed UNC to perform those missions.

"There are 21 full-time staff members at UNC. ... Twenty-one people are incapable of performing that very broad and deep task of being coordinating headquarters for potential troop contributions," he said, adding that this is "fundamentally about making a very modest increase in UNC headquarters."

Noting that he prefers to use the expression "bringing it up to standards" rather than "revitalization," the commander also said, "It has zero -- zero to do with the Indo-Pacom (Pacific Command) strategy."

The forum focusing on the Army's role and future direction in multi-dimensional battlefields was hosted by the Army and organized by the Korea Research Institute for National Strategy.

Gen. Robert Abrams, commander of the U.S. Forces Command, Combined Forces Command and United Nations Command, speaks during a forum in Seoul on Oct. 17, 2019. (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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