March 12, 2010 11:15
A U.S. unit specializing in the removal of weapons of mass destruction from North Korea in the event of a war is taking part in this year's South Korea-U.S. joint military exercises known as "Key Resolve," according to U.S. Forces Korea Commander Gen. Walter Sharp.
Sharp told reporters at the Combined Forces Command headquarters in Seoul the North's WMD threat is a "shared responsibility" between South Korea and the U.S. The allies will closely cooperate to locate, secure, and eliminate WMDs.
The crack team "are here for this exercise and if we ever went to war, they would naturally come also," he said. That will continue once full operational control of South Korean troops is transferred to Seoul, he added.
This year is the second year the crack team has been dispatched to participate in the exercises. It is part of the Combined Joint Task Force for the Elimination of Weapons of Mass Destruction at the U.S. Army 20th Support Command based in Maryland, according to a military source.
Sharp dismissed calls by some Koreans and Americans to delay the transfer of the wartime operational control, saying the transfer will happen in 2012 and the bilateral alliance will be further consolidated in the process.
He also shrugged off North Korea's denunciation of the joint exercises as aimed at a "preemptive strike," saying they are normal exercises aimed at preparing for a war like those conducted by armies anywhere else in the world.
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