Outgoing US Forces Korea Commander Gen. Robert Abrams (L) receives a Korean name, Woo Byung-soo, as a gift from a South Korea-US friendship group for his "contribution to the alliance and defense of South Korea" during a farewell event in Seoul on Thursday. (Yonhap)
Outgoing US Forces Korea (USFK) Commander Gen. Robert Abrams said Thursday that a "rock solid" combined defense posture between South Korea and the United States is the "single greatest deterrent" against any potential adversaries, including North Korea.
Abrams made the remark at a farewell event in Seoul, saying the US will continue to work with its allies "to address the threats posed by North Korea through diplomacy and credible deterrence."
"Any potential adversary should never, ever underestimate our resolve and commitment to defend the Republic of Korea," the general said, referring to South Korea by its official name.
The remarks came as denuclearization negotiations between the US and the North remain stalled since the collapse of the Hanoi summit in 2019.
The new US Joe Biden administration recently concluded its policy review on Pyongyang and offered to resume dialogue, but North Korea has shown no visible reaction to the proposal. The North earlier said it will ignore the US' overtures until Washington gives up what it calls a hostile policy against the regime, warning of a "crisis beyond control."
"As long as North Korea poses a significant threat, we are duty bound to keep our combined defense posture ready, credible and strong," Abrams said. "Expert readiness and rock solid combined defense posture remains the single greatest deterrent for any potential aggression against the Republic of Korea."
Abrams, who is also at the helm of the UN Command and the South Korea-US Combined Forces Command, took office in November 2018.
In December, then US President Donald Trump nominated Army Pacific Commander Gen. Paul LaCamera to succeed Abrams to lead the 28,500 American troops in South Korea. The nomination is now pending at the Senate Armed Services Committee for a confirmation hearing.
At Thursday's event, Abrams received a Korean name, Woo Byung-soo, as a gift from a South Korea-US friendship group for his "contribution to the alliance and defense of South Korea."
"Serving as the Commander of the United Nations Command, the Combined Forces Command and the US Forces Korea over the last 2 1/2 years has been a professional honor of my life," he said.
Expressing gratitude for "a lifetime of memories" in South Korea, Abrams said, "I am going to have to find a place in North Carolina that makes good kimchi," a traditional Korean side dish normally made of fermented cabbage, salt and hot peppers. (Yonhap)