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Sharp says alliance ready to counter provocations

June 22, 2011

By Walter T. Ham IV, Eighth Army Public Affairs

SEOUL, June 22, 2011 -- During an address to the Association of the Republic of Korea Army at Koreana Hotel here June 20, 2011, the top U.S. military commander in Korea said the Republic of Korea-U.S. Alliance is ready to counter any provocations against South Korea.

Gen. Walter L. “Skip” Sharp, commander of United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea, also told the association members about on-going alliance transformation efforts.

According to Sharp, North Korea’s sneak attack on Republic of Korea, or ROK, Ship Cheonan, unprovoked artillery barrage on Yeonpyeong Island and announcement of a highly enriched uranium program are part of a coercive strategy designed to gain concessions.

“Their desire to antagonize, provoke, appease and demand concessions have been taken in order to achieve the regime’s goals of gaining food, fuel, economic aid, to sustain their regime,” said Sharp. “While the Kim regime has proven a willingness to escalate in order to obtain what it wants, I am convinced that the Republic of Korea-U.S. Alliance is prepared.”

In addition to deterring the threat north of the border, Sharp said the ROK military is serving alongside the U.S. military in hot spots around the world.

Citing South Korea’s service in Afghanistan and off the coast of Somalia as well as its UN peacekeeping missions, humanitarian assistance operations and counter proliferation efforts, Sharp said the Republic of Korea is a “guarantor of assistance and security around the world.”

The four-star general, who retires from the U.S. Army after nearly four decades of service this summer, thanked the ROK military for the role it plays in the region and around the globe.

“The Republic of Korea-U.S. Alliance has been the cornerstone of peace and stability in Northeast Asia for the past 57 years,” said Sharp. “This region, home of many of the world's largest militaries and economies, owes much of its continued success to the constancy provided by the Republic of Korea-U.S. Alliance.”

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