While the Korean crisis ended in August 2013 with a hand shake between leaders from the North and the South, the U.S. appears to be taking extra precautions by sending an armored battalion to South Korea next month in case a another crisis escalates with North Korea, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.
The 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry regiment, currently stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, is made up of 800 troops and armored vehicles and will move to two camps near the demarcation line with the North.
The deployment is part of a strategic shift towards the Asia-Pacific region “and allows for greater responsiveness to better meet theater operational requirements,” said the Pentagon.
The regiment will join the 28,500 U.S. troops already stationed in the country and the 640,000-strong South Korean force, which is all commanded by the United States.
However, tensions with the North have meant that the increase in military personnel could be viewed as an act of aggression, and the South has asked Washington to delay a move in 2015 that would see South Korea take control of all miltiary forces in the country, including U.S.
If the troops do make the move next month, they will leave their armored vehicles behind in Fort Hood for the unit that follows them.
The announcement comes after Monday’s talks between South Korea’s Foreign Minister Yun Byung-Se and Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel.
“The two discussed the importance of maintaining a robust combined defense of the Korean Peninsula as a strong deterrent against provocations from North Korea,” spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said.