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(3rd LD) Yoon, Biden to visit key Air Force operations center

Defense 18:21 May 20, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details in paras 5-7)

SEOUL, May 20 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and his U.S. counterpart, Joe Biden, plan to jointly visit a key Air Force operations center south of Seoul during Biden's visit here, Yoon's office said Friday.

Yoon and Biden are set to visit the Korean Air and Space Operations Center (KAOC) located at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, 70 kilometers south of the capital, on Sunday, the last day of Biden's three-day visit.

The joint event has been arranged as the allies are seeking to reinforce security coordination amid concerns about the possibilities of North Korean provocations, such as a long-range ballistic missile and nuclear test.

At the KAOC, Yoon and Biden will be briefed on its operations and encourage South Korean and U.S. service members, the presidential office said.

The presidents are expected to tour the KAOC, flanked by Lt. Gen. Choi Sung-chun, the commander of South Korea's Air Force Operations Command, and Lt. Gen. Scott L. Pleus, the chief of the U.S. 7th Air Force.

Biden's tour there will mark the first visit to the center by a U.S. president. Yoon will be the first South Korean commander-in-chief to visit the KAOC in some 13 years.

The KAOC, situated in an underground bunker, is a key command post for air and space operations.

Earlier this week, Kim Tae-hyo, the first deputy chief of South Korea's presidential National Security Office, said that Yoon and Biden plan to conduct a joint schedule under the theme of economic security and security each day until Sunday.

The U.S. military's E-4B command and control aircraft flew over Japan ahead of Biden's arrival in Asia, according to media reports. The aircraft, called Doomsday Plane, is known to be meant to serve as a mobile command center in the event of a nuclear attack or other contingencies.

This compilation image shows President Yoon Suk-yeol (L) and U.S. President Joe Biden, with the photo of Biden taken from the EPA. (Yonhap)

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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