U.S. commander pledges defense of South Korea islets

By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |  Aug. 25, 2017 at 12:51 PM
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Aug. 25 (UPI) -- U.S. and South Korea marine corps commanders conducted a joint inspection of combat readiness at the disputed maritime border with North Korea on Friday, during which the U.S. officer pledged defense of coastal territories.

U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson and South Korea marine corps leader Lt. Gen. Jun Jin-goo visited the outlying islands off the western coast of the peninsula, including Maldo and Udo islands, according to Yonhap.

Jun told his troops to "boldly pull the trigger if the enemy provokes," and assured South Korean marines they are not alone.

"We won't let you fight alone. We will fight alongside you on the basis of the strong combat power of South Korea-U.S. Marine Corps," Jun said.

The South Korean commander also said the "U.S. and Republic of Korea marines will fight together with you," according to local news service Newsis.

Nicholson said the U.S.-South Korea alliance remains solid and would not be shaken by threats, adding troops will respond to any provocation by the enemy.

Nicholson and Jun also discussed tactics and ways the U.S. Marine Corps could support local soldiers should conflict with North Korea start suddenly along the coast.

The U.S. commander has visited other islands in the area, including Yeonpyeong Island in 2016 and Baengnyeong Island in early 2017.

South Korea's marine corps gave Nicholson a Korean name in March: Lee Gun-seung, which evokes victory and solidarity, according to South Korean press reports.

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