Joint Chiefs chair thanks US, South Korean troops standing guard at DMZ
PANMUNJOM, Korea — Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph F. Dunford on Monday visited with U.S. and South Korean soldiers guarding the Demilitarized Zone, which separates North and South Korea.
It was Dunford’s first visit to South Korea as Joint Chiefs chairman. He marveled at the cooperation between the U.S. and South Korean militaries.
“There probably isn’t another organization out there that has the level of integration that we have out here along the DMZ with the security battalion,” he said.
His visit coincides with Secretary of Defense Ash Carter’s trip to the Korean Peninsula. Carter is in Seoul for the 2015 Security Consultative Meeting between U.S. and South Korean officials, where a timetable is expected to be set for wartime operational control of South Korea’s defense to be transferred to Seoul.
The U.S. has been largely responsible for the defense of South Korea since the Mutual Defense Treaty was signed in 1953 and currently has 28,500 servicemembers stationed on the peninsula. North and South Korea signed the treaty that resulted in a cease-fire between the two countries, but hostilities have continued since with both sides having been more aggressive of late.