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US Forces Korea (USFK) has denied media reports regarding its postponement of future combined military training due to increasing concerns about the coronavirus Covid-19.
USFK said that the postponement of joint training between South Korea and the US over coronavirus concerns is inaccurate.
In a statement, USFK said: “Any decision regarding combined training will be an US-ROK Alliance decision, and not a unilateral decision. When any USFK decisions or announcements are made, regardless of the topic or scenario, they will be made through official USFK channels, platforms or agencies, and not through rumours or speculation.
“USFK’s commitment to the ROK-US alliance is ironclad and unbreakable, and we will continue to provide a robust combined defence posture to protect the Republic of Korea against any threat or adversary.”
Local paper Joongang Ilbo cited South Korean sources reporting that the US and South Korea share concerns about the coronavirus, which has killed more than 2,700 people, as of the end of 24 February.
The number of positive cases worldwide has exceeded 80,000 while the number of recoveries increased to more than 27,000.
In a separate update, South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention informed USFK that a widowed citizen in Daegu tested positive for Covid-19.
This is the first time a USFK-related individual has tested positive for the virus. The risk level has been raised to high peninsula-wide as a prudent measure to protect the force.
In another announcement, US Secretary of Defense Dr Mark Esper said that South Korea needs to bear a proportional share of the cost of maintaining its security, even though the US-South Korea alliance remains strong.
Esper further added that the US is urging global security partners to accelerate and contribute more to mutually beneficial partnerships.