SEOUL – General Robert Abrams took office on Thursday as the new commander of the US forces deployed in South Korea at a critical time marked by detente and rapprochement with North Korea.
The change of command ceremony was held at the new US Forces Korea (USFK) headquarters, the Camp Humphreys barracks, located in the town of Pyeongtaek, 70 kilometers south of Seoul, according to the South Korean news agency Yonhap.
The event included South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo and General Vincent Brooks, who Abrams replaces and who had led the USFK since April 2016.
Following the rapprochement and summits held this year between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean and the US presidents Moon Jae-in and Donald Trump, the Seoul-Washington alliance decided to indefinitely freeze their military maneuvers, which the North Korean regime considers as rehearsals for invasion.
Outgoing Brooks faced one of the most turbulent phases in recent memory on the peninsula, with a record number of missile and nuclear weapons tests by North Korea and a hardening of US rhetoric after the arrival of Donald Trump to the White House.
Abrams has led various units in combat operations in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq or Afghanistan and from August 2015 until last October was the general in charge of the US Armed Forces Command.