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SEOUL (Reuters) - The United States is deploying a squadron of stealth fighters to South Korea, a U.S. military spokesman said on Wednesday, amid speculation that North Korea may be ready to test a second nuclear device.
The United States is sending about 15 to 20 of its F-117A Nighthawk fighters to South Korea, the spokesman for U.S. Forces Korea said.
Seoul and Washington have agreed that between 2009 and 2012 South Korea would gain wartime operational command of its troops, changing an arrangement stemming from the 1950-1953 Korean War.
Bell said the shift could occur as soon as 2009, while the South Korean government is looking more towards 2012.
He is sure the two sides will find an acceptable date but cautioned that a firm structure must be established because, with North Korea mounting a large military presence near the border, it may be a matter of moments between the end of the armistice and the start of a crisis.
The worst thing we could do is within minutes try to transfer command back and forth. This would cause an exploitable seam for military commanders that would be unacceptable.
The United States has about 30,000 troops in South Korea to support the country's 670,000-strong military. North Korea has about 1.2 million troops, most of whom are stationed near the border that divides the peninsula.