May 19, 2011 10:43
The South Korean and U.S. militaries want officers of the U.S. Forces Korea and the UN Command to observe South Korean artillery drills in the northwestern islands on a permanent basis.
"The U.S. military is displaying a positive attitude toward the idea with a view to deterring the North" from launching local provocations like the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island last year, a military source said Wednesday. "It's been agreed in principle that USFK and UNC officers will permanently observe artillery drills on the West Sea islands including Yeonpyeong and Baeknyeong."
The USFK and the UNC sent about 20 observers to artillery drills on Yeonpyeong Island last December and on the northwestern islands in March and early May. The USFK reportedly dispatched anti-artillery radar operators during the latest drill.
"This doesn't mean that USFK troops will be stationed permanently on the islands. But if USFK and UNC officers observe live-fire drills every month or every other month, that in itself will contribute significantly to deterring the North from provocations," the source added.
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