The South Korean military has launched a new defense command to better protect five frontline islands in the West Sea from North Korean attacks.
The establishment of the Northwest Islands Defense Command comes nearly seven months after North Korea shelled the South's Yeonpyeong Island.
Kim Nari reports.
South Korea now has a new defense command for the five frontline islands in the West Sea which is aimed at better shielding the region from possible North Korean attacks.
The establishment of the Northwest Islands Defense Command comes over a year after the sinking of the Cheonan and nearly seven months after the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island by the South's communist neighbor.
[INTERVIEW : Kim Kwan-jin, Defense Minister] ''The new command will give us the upper hand on military operations in the Northwest islands. And with this, we will crush the enemy's endless provocative behavior in the region.''
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The launching ceremony took place on Wednesday at the South Korean Marine Corps headquarter in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province with military leaders attending, including Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin and US Forces Korea commander General Walter Sharp.
President Lee Myung-bak also sent a congratulatory message saying that as long as there are marines happy to serve in the new command, the country will stay safe.
South Korea's Marine Corps commander will have a dual role as the chief of the new command which consists of militants from the Army, Navy and Air Force.
[INTERVIEW : Col. Jo Young-jin,ROK Army] ''The new command is established on the basis of the Marine Corps' invincible spirit and courage combined with the Army's artillery power and the systems that enable us to control forces from the Navy and Air Force.''
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Since the two deadly attacks on the South by the North last year, Seoul's military has deployed additional troops and advanced weaponry to the islands.
The military is also planning on deploying an unspecified number of attack helicopters to Baengyeong Island sometime in September.
[REPORTER : Kim Nari, firstname.lastname@example.org,ROK Marine HQ] ''The South Korean military says that the new command integrates strong components from the military's three branches which will boost the South's defense capabilities for the western border islands.
Kim Nari, Arirang News.''