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U.S. military extends S. Korean curfew

Jan. 3, 2012 at 1:20 PM

SEOUL, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- The U.S. military has extended a troop curfew put in place in South Korea following two high-profile rape cases involving U.S. soldiers.

U.S. Forces Korea commander Gen. James D. Thurman said Tuesday the curfew has been extended until further notice.

"The purpose of the curfew is to ensure continued mission readiness and to assess the current operational environment," a statement from U.S. Forces Korea said. The new off-base curfew hours for all U.S. service members in Korea are from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., seven days a week. The original curfew, put in place Oct. 7, had been midnight to 5 a.m. on weekdays and from 3 a.m. to 5 a.m. on weekends and holidays, Stars and Stripes said.

"We must remain focused on our primary mission here, which is to deter against external aggression and if required, defend the Republic of Korea side-by-side with our ROK counterparts," Thurman said. "I anticipate and expect that our service members will continue to maintain the highest standards of individual readiness and professionalism while they serve in the Republic of Korea."

The October curfew was put in place following a series of incidents that have sparked public anger in South Korea.

U.S. military and South Korean officials have met to discuss possible changes to the Status of Forces Agreement between the two countries in the wake of Pvt. Kevin Lee Flippin's conviction last year for raping and brutalizing a South Korean teenager, as well as rape allegations against a second soldier, Stars and Stripes said.

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