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The Pentagon has ordered an additional 800 soldiers to be deployed to South Korea for nine months as part of a “rebalance” of forces in the peninsula and Pacific region.
The deployment also includes additional materiel such as 40 Abrams M1A2 tanks which will remain in South Korea to boost the military’s defensive capabilities there.
The announcement came a day after US Secretary of State John Kerry met with his South Korean counterpart Yun Byung-se and amid fears that the recent execution of a senior North Korean official could signal a power struggle in Pyongyang.
Meanwhile, ties between the two Koreas have stabilised since last year’s increased tension and war rhetoric.
On December 31, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un called on his southern neighbour to work toward improved relations.
Five days later, South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye said one way to do that would be to resume a programme to reunite families in both countries.
In early September, the two Koreas reached an agreement to fully reopen the Kaesong industrial complex, which was shut down in April after tensions between Pyongyang, Seoul and Washington peaked over the former’s launching of upgraded missiles and the latter holding joint military exercises.
The Kaesong Industrial Complex was established in 2004 as an attempt to bring the two Koreas closer through cross-border cooperation and employing 53,000 North Korean workers.
China, North and South Korea, Japan, Russia and the United States had met a number of times over the past 10 years to deal with security and stability on the peninsula.
At the height of the North Korean crisis last spring, Kerry said that China was perhaps the most influential power in the peninsula.
“There is no group of leaders on the face of the planet who have more capacity to make a difference in this than the Chinese, and everybody knows it, including, I believe, them,” Kerry said during a visit to the region in early April.