Speech by four-star general
In the midst of Pyongyang’s provocations including its sixth nuclear test, it was of keen interest for me as a member of the Korean-American Association (KAA) and host, to listen to the luncheon speech delivered by Gen. Vincent K. Brooks. Brooks is commander of the United States Forces Korea (USFK), the United Nations Command (UNC) and the R.O.K.-U.S. Combined Forces Command (CFC).
The luncheon meeting was held Sept. 15, soon after North Korea launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) from its Sunan International Airport, which flew 3,700km eastward over Japan (which is the distance between Pyongyang and Guam). The luncheon marked the 67th anniversary of Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s Operation Chromite at Incheon Harbor. Among the 120 attendees were civilians and military personnel from the two nations including KAA Chairman Park Jin and the U.S. Charge d’ Affaires Marc Knapper, and a host of media.
I took some notes on Gen. Brooks’ main points about critical issues on the Korean Peninsula, emphasizing the point that inter-Korean relations are under the assumption that the Kim Jong-un regime will use its nuclear weapons to gain the upper hand in any future negotiations with the United States and its allies.
Brooks seems determined to forge ahead with denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, not only by deterring the North from developing its arsenal but also by being against any retaliatory development of the South for the eventual unification of this divided part of Northeast Asia.
At West Point, Brooks was the academy’s first African-American Cadet First Captain, the highest position a cadet can hold, an appointment that brought much publicity to him at an early age. He is likely to have a deep understanding of East Asian relations while also safeguarding the role of the United Nations. He was born in Anchorage on U.N. Day, Oct. 24, 1958, the year of the dog. His military career has been in connection with the UNC several times. After graduating from West Point in 1980, he served in Korea and Kosovo among other places.
He also became the spokesman of the United States Central Command, the main U.N. force in the Middle East. To say he is accomplished is an understatement.
It is my desire that his endeavors for the peace-keeping mission, all-weather security and anti-terrorism tasks for the sake of the international community will be fulfilled by using any strategies and tactics in his capacity as the top field commander in Korea on the firm basis of the Korean-U.S. Military Alliance — one that was forged in blood, and which led to the ceasefire of the Korean War in 1953.