Speech by four-star gen­eral

The Korea Times - - OPINION - By Lee Sun-ho Lee Sun-ho (kexim2@uni­tel.co.kr) is an om­buds­man colum­nist for The Korea Times in Seoul. This is his 316th ar­ti­cle mark­ing the 50th an­niver­sary of his first con­tri­bu­tion on Oct. 15, 1967.

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.

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