Obama to nominate new US commander in Republic of Korea



Beijing: President Barack Obama intends to nominate Army Lt Gen Curtis Scaparrotti to succeed Army Gen. James Thurman as the commander of the US Forces in Korea, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced on Friday at a Pentagon press conference.

Scaparrotti currently serves as director of the Joint Staff in the Pentagon. Once he is nominated, the Senate must confirm him for a fourth star and the position.

Thurman, who assumed his post in July 2011 and has served during some of the tensest times on the Korean Peninsula in recent years, is retiring.

Hagel said that Scaparrotti has worked tirelessly on many important issues, particularly the health of the force. He is a proven combat leader, having served in Afghanistan as the commander of the International Security Assistance Force's Joint Command in Kabul, Hagel noted.

The defense chief said that he discussed the nomination with President of the Republic of Korea (ROK) Park Geun-hye in a May 7 meeting at the Pentagon during her visit to Washington.

"In my conversation with her and other Korean leaders, I heard an outpouring of respect for General Thurman and the job he has done," Hagel said. "They are also clearly looking forward to working with General Scaparrotti."

ANI