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The transition of full operational control of Korean forces from the United States to Korea will be complete by April 17, 2012, the two countries’ defense ministers agreed Friday. Combined Forces Command, which has overseen the two countries' military forces since 1978, will be dissolved. It will be 62 years since control of Korean troops was handed over to the U.S., right after the outbreak of the Korean War. President Syngman Rhee on July 14, 1950 wrote to UN forces commander gen. Douglas MacArthur assigning him control of South Korean troops.
The date for the handover carries symbolic meaning since 4.17., in U.S. parlance, inverts the date -- 7.14. - when Rhee sent the letter to MacArthur. The agreement to effect the transition by the 2012 deadline came in a Friday meeting between Kim Jang-so and Robert Gates in Washington.