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U.S. military intelligence chief visits South Korea

The top U.S. military intelligence official has been in Seoul for annual consultations with his South Korean counterpart and other officials on North Korea, a Defense Ministry official said Thursday.

Lt. Gen. Ronald L. Burgess, Jr., director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, visited the Defense Intelligence Command where he received a briefing on the situation in North Korea on Wednesday, the ministry official said.

He also met with the commander of the Defense Security Command and the top Defense Ministry intelligence official as well as Gen. James D. Thurman, commander of the U.S. Forces in South Korea, and other U.S. military officials.

The meetings focused on North Korea, the relocation of U.S. bases in South Korea and the transfer of wartime operational control of South Korean troops, the ministry official said, without elaborating.

South Korea is scheduled to take over wartime operational control of its military from the United States in 2015.

The U.S. has held wartime command of South Korean troops since the beginning of the 1950-53 Korean War, though it handed over peacetime control of the South Korean military to Seoul in 1994.

The U.S. keeps some 28,500 troops in South Korea as a deterrent against North Korea, a legacy of the war that ended in a cease-fire, not a peace treaty.

Burgess, who arrived in Seoul on Monday, was to return home later Thursday. 

(Yonhap News)
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