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Korean, U.S. marine corps to strengthen collaboration

South Korean and U.S. Marine Corps will increase joint exercises and strengthen measures for defending the islands near the northern limit line in the West Sea.

On Thursday, Commander of the South Korean Marines Lt. Gen. Lee Ho-yeon and U.S. Marine Corps in Korea Commander Maj. Gen. Michael Regner confirmed that the two forces will conduct the largest joint landing exercise in 23 years during the first half of 2112 as agreed last year.

The exercise will combine the joint brigade-level landing exercise and the U.S. marines’ Korea Marine Exercise Program.

In addition, Lee and Regner also discussed plans for increasing Korean Marine Corps’ involvement in multinational exercises.

Plans discussed include expanding Korean Marine Corps involvement in the U.S.-led multinational Cobra Gold Exercise to battalion-level units, and sending a platoon to take part in the Rim of the Pacific Exercise for the first time in the Korean Marine Corps’ history.

“Korean and U.S. marine forces have been working together to strengthen our countries’ alliance and to maintain our combined readiness building up on the strong comradeship known as ‘Brother Marine,’” Lee said during the meeting.

Regarding the West Sea islands, Lee and Regner agreed to expand strategy talks and reconnaissance programs in the region, and establish company-level joint drills as regular features of Korea-U.S. Marine Corps collaboration.

Lee and Regner also discussed the transition of wartime operational control from the U.S. to South Korea in 2015, and agreed to form a joint evaluation committee to assess South Korean Marine Corps’ operational readiness and to strengthen weak points.

By Choi He-suk (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)
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