By Walter T. Ham IV, Eighth Army Public AffairsApril 15, 2011
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 15, 2011 -- The senior U.S. military commander in South Korea told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the Republic of Korea-United States alliance is ready to confront and defeat any aggression against South Korea.
Appearing before the committee with U.S. Pacific Command Commander Adm. Robert F. Willard, U.S. Army Gen. Walter L. "Skip" Sharp, commander of United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea, testified at a hearing at the Russell Senate Office Building, April 12, 2011.
Sharp said South Korea, or ROK, is a "global security partner" serving on provincial reconstruction teams in Afghanistan and in counter-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia.
"Most importantly, the Republic of Korea and U.S. alliance continues to deter a North Korea that threatens both regional and global peace and security," Sharp testified. "Last year, the Republic of Korea was the victim of two unprovoked attacks by North Korea."
Citing the 50 lives lost during the North Korean torpedo attack on the ROK ship Cheonan and the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island last year, Sharp said the alliance is ready to deter North Korean aggression or to fight and win, if deterrence fails.
"The alliance stands ready to address the full spectrum of conflict that could emerge on the Korean Peninsula," said Sharp. "Maintaining this preparedness is accomplished through the development and continual refinement of bilateral plans to deter and defeat provocations, attacks like last year, and aggression while maintaining an ability to respond to other destabilizing conditions that could affect the Korean Peninsula."
Sharp said annual peninsula-wide exercises enable the ROK-U.S. alliance to defend South Korea and maintain security in Northeast Asia.
"Three annual joint, combined, and interagency exercises - Ulchi Freedom Guardian, Key Resolve, and Foal Eagle - serve as key enablers for maintaining the combined command's fight tonight readiness," said Sharp.