Champoux: Alliance serves as 'insurance policy'
SEOUL, South Korea (April 8, 2014) -- The top U.S. Army commander in South Korea said the Republic of Korea-U.S. Alliance serves as an "insurance policy" for the global economy by maintaining stability in Northeast Asia.
During a keynote address to the Defense Analysis Exchange in Seoul, April 8, Eighth Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Bernard S. Champoux said no region in the world is more important to the U.S. than Northeast Asia.
"Northeast Asia generates 25 percent of all economic activity and accounts for $100 billion in trade," said Champoux. "It is also home to some of the world's major security challenges."
"Our alliance with South Korea provided the foundation that enabled this region to become one of the most prosperous corners of the globe during a half century of unparalleled security," said Champoux, who is originally from Pittsfield, Mass.
The commanding general said the alliance enabled South Korea's meteoric rise from the ashes of the Korean War to the world's 12th largest economy, in just 60 years.
"Korea has become the wonder of the world," said Champoux. "From the 'Miracle on the Han' to the 'Korean Wave,' Korea has demonstrated what a free nation can achieve."
In spite of the peace and prosperity in South Korea, Champoux said North Korea poses an "undeniable and immediate" threat to the U.S. and its allies.
Champoux said more than 23 million people in the greater Seoul metropolitan area live within North Korean artillery range and the entire region is threatened by North Korean theater ballistic missiles.
In addition to its Weapons of Mass Destruction programs, the general added that North Korea maintains the largest artillery force, largest Special Operations Forces contingent and the fourth largest conventional military in the world.
According to Champoux, the ROK-U.S. Alliance trains year round to maintain the readiness needed to deter aggression or to fight and win if deterrence ever fails. Champoux said the alliance is trained and ready to confront and defeat any threat.
The Eighth Army commanding general said that the "will to prepare" and "will to win" are what make the ROK-U.S. Alliance the strongest in the world.
"It is a capable and modern partnership built on a foundation of common values, mutual respect and shared sacrifice," said Champoux. "Today, we stand together at this critical junction between liberty and tyranny."
"Our alliance stands ready to defeat this threat if deterrence ever fails, a strategic 'insurance policy' that enables the global economy through stability in Northeast Asia," said Champoux.