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U.S. special units said to join in operation to eliminate Kim Jong-un in case of war: source

2017/01/08 10:43

SEOUL, Jan. 8 (Yonhap) -- U.S. special operation forces are expected to participate in a South Korean-led operation to kill North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un in the event of war, according to military sources Sunday.

"The South Korean military will form a special brigade based on that of the U.S. sometime later this year," said a high-ranking government official on the condition of anonymity, adding that U.S. special agents are expected to be under Korean command during the operation.

"Although the brigade is modeled after that in the U.S., it will be tailored to the special environments of the peninsula," he said.

The 1,000-2,000-strong unit is tasked with eliminating Pyongyang's wartime command, including Kim Jong-un, and paralyzing its functions.

The South Korean Army is engaged in a special infiltration exercise in the East Sea on Aug. 6, 2016. (Yonhap) The South Korean Army is engaged in a special infiltration exercise in the East Sea on Aug. 6, 2016. (Yonhap)

Strategic Digest 2016, a publication by the USFK J5 Strategic Communication Division, said: "SOCKOR (Special Operations Command Korea) secured new authorities and agreements, enhanced U.S. SOF force posture and mission command on the peninsula, and redefined its ROK partner engagements. The presence of rotational Special Operations Forces underpins the Alliance's ability to maintain the combined crisis response capability and ensures sustained engagements with ROK ground, maritime and aviation partners."

   It continued: "The ability to leverage a crisis response capability with operational Special Operations Forces or employ unique combined special operations capabilities provides U.S. military and national leaders with strategic options to deter or defeat North Korean asymmetric threats."

   The South Korean military will increase joint exercises with U.S. special operations forces.

"They engage in a regular exercise in Korea depending on their missions," another military source said. "There will be more joint exercises this year."

   jaeyeon.woo@yna.co.kr

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