Washington set to replace US military commander in S. Korea


File photo: US forces in South Korea (Photo: VCG)

Washington is set to replace the commander of US forces in South Korea amid a rapid diplomatic thaw on the peninsula, even as denuclearisation of the North stalls.

The US stations 28,500 troops in the South, a treaty ally, to defend it against its nuclear-armed neighbour, which invaded in 1950, triggering the Korean War. 

General Robert B. Abrams, commander of the US Army Forces Command, will undergo a confirmation hearing next week to be head of US Forces Korea (USFK), the Senate Armed Services Committee's website showed.

If his nomination is approved, he will succeed General Vincent Brooks as commander of USFK, the UN Command and the South Korea-US Combined Forces Korea, who has been in the post since April 2016.

The outgoing commander has described his time in the South as "a rollercoaster ride", with the peninsula turning from the fears of war to a historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

"We have gone from points of great tension and great danger to points of great opportunity and sometimes back and forth between those, never being completely certain about what will come the next day," Brooks told reporters in Seoul last month.

"So it's been quite a ride and a great honour to have been part of such a historic period of time," he added.

Abrams, whose father was a former Army Chief of Staff, General Creighton W. Abrams Jr., comes from a family of career military officers.

He has held various command and staff positions across the Army and Joint Community in Germany, the US and Southwest Asia during his 34 years of active service.