US to keep command of military reaction to Norks

NY Times:

In his strongest move against North Korea since the sinking of a South Korean warship, President Obama said Saturday that the United States would retain control of all military forces in the South during any conflict on the Korean Peninsula.

North Korea has been widely blamed for the attack on the ship in March that killed 46 sailors.

The announcement was an apparent attempt to signal to the North, which has long wanted American forces off the peninsula, that the United States would remain firmly in control of military operations if war were to break out.

The decision is somewhat symbolic; the United States was not slated to give up wartime control of South Korean troops until 2012, and the new deadline is just three years later. But it allowed Washington and Seoul to take some action after months of struggling for ways to punish the North — and try to deter it from further violence — without provoking the country’s erratic leader, Kim Jong-il, to launch new attacks.

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The South Koreans actually have been pushing for this because it firms up a US commitment to the defense of the Korean Peninsula. It also does not allow the Norks to presume that Korea is outside our defense perimeter which is what happened when the started the war the last time.

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