UPDATE : 2018.3.23 FRI 10:44
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USFK commander says allies need stronger deterrence, pressure on N. Korea

The top American military commander in South Korea said Thursday a series of North Korean provocations means the allies should put more pressure on the communist nation.

He cited the North's continued ballistic missile launches, nuclear test preparations and cyber activities.

These "indicate a very dangerous condition, and pressure is not high enough" to change the course of Pyongyang's behavior, Vincent K. Brooks, the commander of U.S. Forces Korea (USFK), said at a security forum in Seoul.

Vincent K. Brooks speaks at a ceremony marking Memorial Day at the USFK base in Yongsan, central Seoul, on May 25, 2017. (Yonhap)

He pointed out that the North is apparently attempting to "separate any cohesion" among the parties concerned -- South Korea, the United States, Japan, China and Russia.

The commander stressed that South Korea and the U.S. must maintain an ironclad alliance.

The U.S. has 28,500 troops in Korea on a standing basis and the number reaches as high as 40,000 if regular rotational troops and additional forces for joint defense drills are counted, he said.

Especially, the speedy deployment of the advanced THAAD missile defense system in South Korea has enabled the allies to beef up their regional defense.

It's all about North Korea and the defense of South Korea and nothing else, he said.

Brooks also serves as the commander of the South Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command and the United Nations Command. (Yonhap)

Lee Sung-won  edt@koreapost.com

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