Pentagon to Cast Close Eye Over Inter-Korean Military Pact

  • By Lee Yong-soo

    September 21, 2018 13:50

    Vincent Brooks

    The U.S. Defense Department has pledged to "thoroughly review" a military pact the two Koreas signed on Wednesday, Radio Free Asia reported.

    Spokesman Christopher Logan added the Pentagon has so far no preconceived opinion on the pact, but it is unusual for the department not to welcome a pact a U.S. ally has signed as a matter of courtesy.

    "The UN Command will thoroughly review the details of the comprehensive agreement to ensure compliance with the Armistice Agreement and its implementation under current circumstances considering the spirits of the inter-Korean and Singapore summits," it said in a statement.

    Some elements in the pact, such as a ban on aerial reconnaissance activities near the demilitarized zone, would directly affect the activities of the U.S. Forces Korea.

    "We understand that the pact applies also to USFK reconnaissance aircraft and are discussing this with the USFK," a senior Defense Ministry official here told reporters. That suggests the deal was signed without full prior consultation with the USFK.

    A USFK source complained that the South Korean government did not seem to try to reflect American forces' opinion in the agreement, and their communication felt more like a notification than a proper consultation.

    Gen. Vincent Brooks, the USFK chief, has been forced into bizarre contortions since he is concurrently head of the South Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command and commander of the UNC, accepting the pact in one role but expressing concerns in another, according to a military source.

    "It seems that the UNC, whose duty is to prevent accidental clashes, is welcoming the pact, but the USFK and the CFC, which will be restricted from carrying out operations, feel uncomfortable," the ministry official added.

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