Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, visited South Korea Nov. 21-22, meeting with senior military and government leaders to reaffirm the U.S. Navy’s commitment to the alliance with the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the ongoing U.S. rebalance to the Pacific.
During the two-day visit, Harris met with leaders from both the U.S. and the Republic of Korea, to include The Honorable Sung Kim, U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Korea; Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, commander of U.S. Forces Korea; Mr. Kim, Kwan-jin, ROK Minister of Defense; Adm. Choi, Yoon-hee , chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Adm. Hwang, Ki chul, chief of Naval Operations to discuss the strength of the alliance between the U.S. and ROK.
“The prosperity enjoyed by South Korea and the United States can be directly attributed to our strong alliance,” Harris said. “Today, this alliance is stronger than ever. My priority is to support our alliance with the right U.S. Navy assets at the right time, to deter aggression, and if required, to fight when called upon.”
Harris also emphasized to ROK leaders that strong alliances bring stability to Northeast Asia, which is directly in line with the intent of the U.S. rebalance to the Pacific.
“Maintaining stability, peace and prosperity is what the U.S. rebalance to the Pacific is all about,” Harris said. “A key component to that policy is strengthening our regional alliances and partnerships. I am committed to deepening the maritime element of our defense relationships with all of our regional allies and partners.”
Harris also thanked the people of the ROK for their support of U.S. Navy forces who are forward-deployed on the Korean peninsula.
“Thanks to the wonderful support we get from the people of South Korea, the U.S. Pacific Fleet can remain forward-deployed,” said Harris. “This allows the U.S. Navy to be where it matters, when it matters.”
Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea is the regional commander for the U.S. Navy in the Republic of Korea and provides expertise on naval matters to area military commanders, including the Commander for the United Nations Command, the Combined Forces Command, and Commander, U.S. Forces Korea.
Press Release, November 25, 2013; Image: US Navy