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S. Korea to host global forum on marine operations

2017/03/31 15:22

SEOUL, March 31 (Yonhap) -- South Korea said Friday it will soon play host to a high-profile international conference on marine operations, drawing top defense officers from over two dozen nations.

The annual Pacific Amphibious Leaders Symposium (PALS) is slated to kick off this weekend for a five-day run in Seoul and two other areas -- Pohang and Ganghwa -- where local marine units are stationed, according to the Marine Corps Command.

The PALS will bring together more than 200 participants from the U.S., Australia, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and 20 other regional countries with an interest in amphibious operations, it added.

They include Gen. Robert Neller, who commands the U.S. Marine Corps, and Adm. Scott Swift, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Among South Korean attendees will be Gen. Lee Soon-Jin, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Navy Chief of Staff Adm. Um Hyun-Seong.

"More than 60 of those participants have the ranks of general, which means over 100 stars," the command said. "They also include 10 top commanders of Marine Corps."

   It's the first time that the PALS is being held outside the U.S. as the two previous forums took place in Hawaii and California.

South Korean marines stage an amphibious exercise in this file photo provided by the Marine Corps Command. (Yonhap) South Korean marines stage an amphibious exercise in this file photo provided by the Marine Corps Command. (Yonhap)

This year's event would set the stage for senior military leaders to have academic discussions on amphibious operations, capability development, crisis response and interoperability.

In addition, they will be briefed on the performance and future plans of South Korean Navy and Marine Corps. They will also make a tour of Panmunjeom, the truce village in the demilitarized zone (DMZ), an observatory near the western border, a Marine Corps unit in Pohang and an expo of military equipment.

The symposium is expected to serve as an opportunity for the South Korean military to enhance its global stature, develop the strategy of amphibious operations and publicize the superiority of the nation's defense industry, added the command.