Südkorea — Wartime control transfer delayed

Lead­ers of South Korea and the Unit­ed States have agreed to delay Seoul’s sched­uled takeover of wartime oper­a­tional con­trol of its troops to Dec. 1, 2015, push­ing back the trans­fer date three years and sev­en months.

The deci­sion was made at a meet­ing between pres­i­dents Lee Myung-bak and Barack Oba­ma before the Group of 20 finan­cial sum­mit on June 26.

The two lead­ers also dis­cussed secu­ri­ty issues and North Korea’s recent provo­ca­tion, gov­ern­ment offi­cials said.

When the Kore­an War(1950–53) began, South Korea hand­ed over peace­time and wartime oper­a­tiona con­trol of its sol­diers to the U.S.-led Unit­ed Nations Com­mand, after which the South Korea‑U.S. Com­bined Forces Com­mand gained the author­i­ty.

In 1994, Seoul regained peace­time con­trol and the Roh Moo-hyun admin­is­tra­tion struck a deal with Wash­ing­ton in 2007 that Seoul would com­mand its troops in wartime start­ing April 17, 2012.

Seoul and Wash­ing­ton have been dis­cussing about the wartime oper­a­tional con­trol takeover issue since May last year when both sides rec­og­nized the adjust­ment of the sched­ule of the trans­fer.

The Lee admin­is­tra­tion has said an altered secu­ri­ty envi­ron­ment on the Kore­an Penin­su­la made the trans­fer of author­i­ty inap­pro­pri­ate. Since the agree­ment in 2007, North Korea con­duct­ed a sec­ond nuclear test in May 25 of last year.

South Kore­an Defense Min­is­ter Kim Tae-young and the U.S. Defense Sec­re­tary Robert Gates agreed in Octo­ber last year dur­ing the 41st South Korea‑U.S. Secu­ri­ty Con­sul­ta­tive Meet­ing that they would dis­cuss about the tran­si­tion while mon­i­tor­ing the North’s move­ment and its threats and talk over the mat­ter in the mil­i­tary com­mis­sion meet­ing.

In addi­tion, civic groups relat­ed to secu­ri­ty in South Korea have also urged the delay of the oper­a­tional con­trol. They said that the South Korea‑U.S. alliance could be weak­ened if the troop con­trol is trans­ferred as it is sched­uled. Civic groups con­cerned of secu­ri­ty vac­u­um that could be widened in case of ear­ly tran­si­tion.

Now that a new date has been cho­sen, Lee and Oba­ma agreed to order their defense pol­i­cy mak­ers to map out a new tran­si­tion plan as well.

Defense and for­eign affairs min­is­ters of the two nations will meet in July. The two pres­i­dents said they expect the meet­ing to bol­ster their alliance.

In a press brief­ing, Kim Sung-hwan, Blue House senior sec­re­tary for for­eign affairs and secu­ri­ty, said that Seoul is able to secure its own intel­li­gence gath­er­ing abil­i­ty, strate­gic com­mand and com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tem and pre­ci­sion bomb­ing skills by 2015. Kim added that the estab­lish­ment of the ground oper­a­tion com­mand and the relo­ca­tion of the Yongsan base to Pyeong­taek, Gyeong­gi, is slat­ed to be com­plet­ed in 2015.

Kim reject­ed some lib­er­al politi­cians’ views that Seoul was aban­don­ing its “mil­i­tary sov­er­eign­ty.” He also dis­missed spec­u­la­tion that Wash­ing­ton had request­ed some­thing in return for agree­ing with Seoul’s request.

Cur­rent­ly, South Korea is rely­ing on Amer­i­can KH-11 mil­i­tary satel­lite, U‑2 and RC-135 recon­nais­sance air­craft and Aegis-equipped war­ship in gath­er­ing intel­li­gence relat­ed to Pyongyang’s move­ment.

How­ev­er, Seoul is plan­ning to spend 100 bil­lion won ($81.4 mil­lion) to build elec­tro­mag­net­ic pulse, Guid­ed Bomb Unit 28, Joint Air to Sur­face Stand­off Mis­sile and Joint Direct Attack Muni­tion by 2014.

South Korea is also plan­ning to cre­ate oper­a­tional unit that is equipped with alert radar by 2012 that could detect North Korea’s inten­tion to fire bal­lis­tic mis­siles.

Defense min­is­ter Kim Tae-young had called the sched­uled tran­si­tion in pub­lic “the worst case sce­nario for the mil­i­tary” because the North could bol­ster its nuclear capa­bil­i­ty by 2012.

Source:
Min­istry of Nation­al Defense[MND], Repub­lic of Korea

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →