May 14, 2021 11:23
Outgoing U.S. Forces Korea Commander Robert Abrams called for more joint training of South Korean and American forces during a farewell ceremony on Thursday.
"The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war," he reminded his listeners.
South Korea and the U.S. stopped major joint exercises in 2019 under an unexpected promise then-U.S. President Donald Trump made North Korean leader Kim Jong-un when they met the previous year.
Major field drills were replaced by computer simulations, but Abrams has warned several times that computer games cannot replace hands-on training.
During the ceremony at a hotel in downtown Seoul, Abrams said, "Any potential adversary should never, ever underestimate our resolve and commitment to defend [South] Korea." It is the U.S.' responsibility to develop the alliance not to cause conflicts, but to prevent them, he added.
"Expert readiness and rock-solid combined defense posture remains the single greatest deterrent for any potential aggression against [South] Korea."
He said this made it possible for South Korea to become the world's 10th largest economy, but "we can't stop here."
The freedoms of expression, speech, assembly, and religion, and the rule of law are essential ingredients of free democracy and the linchpin of the alliance, he added.
He described his time in South Korea as "a lifetime of memories," and added serving as the USFK chief "has been the professional honor of my life."
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