US, South Korea to create military unit in case of North conflict

In the event of conflict with North Korea, a U.S. commander would take control of South Korea's soldiers in a combined unit to be created next year, according to a Thursday report.

"It will be the first combined field combat unit to carry out wartime operations," a spokesman for South Korea’s defense ministry said, according to the report from Agence France-Presse.

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A U.S. major general will lead the unit, which would be tasked with destroying North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction if conflict erupted.

In such an event, the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division would join a South Korean military brigade. Nearly 30,000 U.S. troops are based in South Korea, and the U.S. commander would assume control of that country’s 640,000 troops, the report said. 

The combined unit’s staff will be based in Uijeongbu, South Korea, located north of the capital of Seoul. 

The decision to collaborate further with South Korea comes after North Korea conducted a series of missile tests in recent months. In August, North Korea threatened to launch a retaliatory strike after the U.S. and South Korea conducted an annual military drill.