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U.S. generals in S. Korea on educational tour

Twenty newly promoted general-grade officers from the U.S. are on a five-day tour to South Korea under an educational program aimed at enhancing understanding of its key Asian ally.

Under the “Capstone” program organized by the U.S. National Defense University, the group, which arrived here Sunday, visited Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff and was briefed on the security situation on the Korean Peninsula and other bilateral military issues on Monday.

“Through the alliance, which is the most robust and exemplary one in the world, we are working closely together for the smooth transfer of wartime operational control in December 2015,” JCS chief Gen. Han Min-koo told the group.

“Based on your accurate understanding of security realities on the peninsula, I hope you will play a big role in developing bilateral military ties.”

Later in the day, the Capstone Group including Brig. Generals Stephen Lyons and Scott Jansson also visited the Second Fleet Command in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, where the wreckage of the corvette Cheonan is on display.

The 1,200-ton vessel sank near the tense western maritime border last March in a North Korean torpedo attack that killed 46 sailors. The North denies any role in the attack.

Before the group departs for China on Wednesday morning, it is also scheduled to visit the Demilitarized Zone, the 258-kilometer-long, four-kilometer wide buffer zone dividing the two Koreas.

The NDU created the six-week Capstone program in 1982, a mandatory one for the newly promoted general-grade officers taking courses on national security, strategies and multinational combined operations. It includes a two-week tour to a number of countries including those in the Asia-Pacific region.

By Song Sang-ho (