SEOUL, South Korea — US Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced Tuesday that he and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will make an unprecedented trip together to the Demilitarized Zone dividing the two Koreas.
Gates said he and Clinton will visit the DMZ on Wednesday, meeting with US and South Korean troops protecting one of the world's most heavily fortified borders. It would be the first time the United States' top diplomat and defense chief visit the DMZ together.The two Koreas technically remain in a state of war because their three-year conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty, in 1953. The US keeps 28,500 troops in South Korea to protect its ally against any aggression.
"Tomorrow Secretary Clinton and I, along with our Korean counterparts, will visit the DMZ to highlight how important operations are there to the security of the peninsula as well as the region and demonstrate our steadfast commitment" to South Korea, Gates said during a visit Tuesday morning to Camp Casey, a US base near the DMZ.