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Hagel in South Korea; will discuss extending US wartime control of South's forces

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U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel pauses while speaking to the traveling press aboard a U.S. military aircraft plane en route to Seoul, South Korea, for celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice agreement.

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SEOUL, South Korea — U.S. and South Korean defense officials will meet in Seoul over the next few days and discuss whether to extend America’s wartime control over the South’s armed forces, 60 years after a truce ended the Korean War.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says there will be conversations about the possible extension of the 2015 deadline, but likely no decisions will be made.

U.S. officials acknowledge that the South Koreans have informally expressed an interest in delaying the deadline when Seoul is supposed to take wartime control of the forces that would defend the country in the event of an attack by North Korea.

The target date initially was in 2012, and was pushed back to 2015.

Officials say South Korea’s military capabilities have continued to improve.

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