By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joshua Karsten
BUSAN, Republic of Korea (NNS) -- Swedish and Swiss major generals of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission (NNSC) visited the U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19), Aug. 17, as part of an observation tour.
The visit included a tour of the ship and an office call with 7th Fleet Commander Vice Adm. Robert L. Thomas to discuss regional issues and 7th Fleet's mission.
Blue Ridge arrived in Busan, Aug. 13, in support of embarked 7th Fleet's participation in exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG), an annual training event designed to ensure readiness to defend the Republic of Korea (ROK) and strengthen the ROK-U.S. Alliance.
Swedish Maj. Gen. Mats Engman, head of Policy and Plans Department for the Swedish armed forces and Swedish NNSC Member, and Swiss Maj. Gen. Urs Gerber, head of the Swiss delegation to the NNSC, will observe ROK-U.S. interactions over the next two weeks, meet with leadership, review operational briefs, and monitor joint operations watch floors.
The NNSC observes and evaluates exercises to ensure planning and operations are conducted in a "defensive and deterrent" nature. Their presence provides international transparency to the United Nations Command and the Republic of Korea.
The NNSC was established by the Korean Armistice Agreement signed July 27, 1953. The term "neutral nations" includes nations whose combatant forces have not been involved in the hostilities on the Korean Peninsula. The primary role of the NNSC today is to maintain relationships with both the North and the South and facilitate open channels of communication between them.