S. Korean defense minister visits Washington for security talks

19:05, October 07, 2010      

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South Korean Defense Minister Kim Tae- young left Thursday for the United States to attend the latest round of bilateral security talks.

Kim will meet with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates in Washington for an annual Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) on Friday to discuss bilateral alliance, current security situations and Seoul's planned takeover of wartime operational control of its troops, according to Yonhap News Agency.

The 42th round of the SCM, launched in 1968, is the first one to come after Seoul and Washington agreed earlier this year to delay the handover of wartime operational control of South Korean troops until 2015.

Seoul's initial plan to retake the wartime control, initially slated for 2012, was revised after the fatal March sinking of a South Korean warship, blamed on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), highlighted lingering security concerns in Seoul.

Its wartime operational command was handed over to the U.S.-led United Nations Command at the outbreak of the 1950-53 Korean War, which was later transferred to the ROK-U.S. Combined Forces Command (CFC). Some 28,500 U.S. troops have been stationed in the country since the ceasefire left the two Koreas technically at war with each other.



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