U.S. Forces Korea Commanding Gen. James Thurman, right, shakes hands after speaking to the traveling press in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)
SEOUL, South Korea — The commander of U.S. forces in Korea says South Korea’s military needs to improve its missile defense and cyber capabilities to better defend against persistent threats from Pyongyang.
Gen. James Thurman, who will leave his command Wednesday and retire, offered a sobering assessment of North Korea’s continued drive to become a nuclear power and expressed disappointment in its young leader Kim Jong Un.
South Korea is scheduled to take over wartime control of its forces by the end of 2015, but there have been discussions about postponing the transition to allow more time for Seoul’s forces to improve.
Thurman says he is most worried about the South’s abilities to face asymmetric threats from the North, including cyber attacks and long-range ballistic missiles and artillery.