USFK Chief Plays Down N.Korean Military Threat

The outgoing commander of the U.S. Forces Korea has said the North Korean Army is only good at managing operations involving small units of personnel and not much else, VOA reported Friday.

"But when you consider the size of their military and their location, they don' have to be that good," Gen. Walter Sharp added. "Their main goal is -- if they were to attack -- is just to attack south and kill as many [they] can."

The North does pose a threat, "but if you look at it from the perspective of the alliance, I'm very confident if North Korea were to attack we would be able to -- as an alliance -- be able to stop them south of Seoul and then eventually be able to complete the destruction of the North Korean military."

Sharp described the North's attacks on the Navy corvette Cheonan and Yeonpyeong Island last year as attempts to turn public opinion in the South against the Lee Myung-bak administration's North Korea policy.  "I think what North Korean leader Kim Jong-il was hoping to do with those two attacks last year was force the South Korean people to say this is too dangerous, we need to change our strategy and just go back to giving things to North Korea," he said.

He also pointed out that the North would rather spend "its limited money on military capabilities" than on its people's welfare, education and freedom. Spending is focused "specifically on special operations forces, developing nuclear weapons and developing ballistic missile capabilities," he added.

Sharp, who began his duty in South Korea in June 2008, is to return to the U.S. and retire from the Army.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jul. 04, 2011 09:23 KST