SEOUL, Republic of Korea --
Gen. Terrence J. O'Shaughnessy, Pacific Air Forces commander, spoke of the strength of the U.S.-Republic of Korea alliance amid regional tensions at the 20th International Aerospace Symposium Oct. 16.
“The North Korean nuclear weapons and missile development program is truly a threat to us all,” he said. “While the United States will always seek peace over war, we remain poised to defend our ideals, our allies and those who help preserve these international rules and norms.”
The symposium is one of many events taking place as part of the biannual 2017 Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition, or Seoul ADEX 17, at the Seoul Airport Oct. 17 to 22.
The day-long symposium featured a variety of speakers, all focused on the theme of “The Role of Airpower in a Vulnerable Global Security Environment.”
“Although the threats we all face from North Korea are significant, so is our resolve to tackle them together,” O’Shaughnessy said. “The capabilities fielded today by the ROKAF [Republic of Korea Air Force] are truly incredible and would prove to be overwhelmingly decisive in a conflict.”
Having spent much of his career directly focused on the security environment on the Peninsula, serving as the Deputy U.S. Forces Korea and 7th Air Force Commander prior to his assignment to PACAF, O’Shaughnessy provided a unique perspective on the region. As such, the relationships across air forces are deep and enduring.
“I feel like I have come back home to be with my brothers-in-arms,” he said. “Through their leadership, Korea stands ready and able to face any threat.”
The general went on to highlight significant advancements in that relationship that have allowed for further Coalition interoperability.
“We are in the process of rapidly advancing our integration with the next general of fighter aircraft, the F-35,” he said. “Game-changing, networked technologies like these, combined with our amazing U.S. Air Force and ROKAF Airmen, provide our militaries with the competitive advantage we have today and will continue to need into the future.”
By early next year, ROKAF maintainers and pilots will be training to operate the F-35.
Two F-35s and their crews traveled from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, to participate in the week’s events, a first for the Seoul ADEX, and further demonstration of the U.S. commitment to the alliance and the safety and security of the region, he said.
O’Shaughnessy went on to acknowledge the great efforts of ROKAF Airmen standing watch amidst growing aggressions and the significance of maintaining strong partnerships in the region.
“The ROKAF has consistently demonstrated it is both ready and capable to meet any adversary. Together, we present an extraordinary military force,” he said. “A diplomatic solution can only be effective when supported by credible military options. Our forces represent that credible military response…we stand ready to confront any challenge. Katchi Kapshida, we go together.”
Seoul ADEX is the largest, most comprehensive event of its kind in Northeast Asia, attracting aviation and aerospace professionals, key defense personnel, aviation enthusiasts and the general public alike.
Approximately 200 U.S. personnel will facilitate a cross-section of U.S. military aircraft, which are scheduled for static displays and aerial demonstrations, including the F-22 Raptor, A-10 Thunderbolt II, C-17 Globemaster III, C-130J Hercules, B-1B Lancer, KC-135 Stratotanker, E-3 Sentry, U-2 Dragon Lady, RQ-4 Global Hawk and the U.S. Air Force’s latest fifth-generation fighter, the F-35A Lightning II. Additional displays will include a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon and a U.S. Army CH-47F Chinook.