USA/South Korea — Gates Plans Visit to South Korea for ‘2‑plus‑2 Talks’

WASHINGTON, July 16, 2010 — Send­ing North Korea a strong mes­sage of deter­rence and under­scor­ing the strength of the U.S.-South Kore­an alliance are key aims of an upcom­ing vis­it to South Korea by Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates, Pen­ta­gon offi­cials said here yes­ter­day.

Gates leaves this week­end for a vis­it that will include high-lev­el talks with South Kore­an offi­cials and a com­mem­o­ra­tion of the 60th anniver­sary of the start of the Kore­an War, Pen­ta­gon Press Sec­re­tary Geoff Mor­rell said. 

Gates and Sec­re­tary of State Hillary Rod­ham Clin­ton will meet with their South Kore­an coun­ter­parts in the first “2‑plus‑2 Talks” between the two nations. Among oth­er top­ics, Mor­rell said, they will dis­cuss upcom­ing mil­i­tary exer­cis­es involv­ing U.S. and South Kore­an forces. 

The vis­it and the dis­cus­sion of mil­i­tary exer­cis­es come as world reac­tion con­tin­ues to North Korea’s March 26 sink­ing of the frigate Cheo­nan, which killed 46 South Kore­an sailors. “There are a num­ber of mes­sages that we’re try­ing to send,” a senior Defense Depart­ment offi­cial speak­ing on back­ground said. “We’re try­ing to send a clear mes­sage of deter­rence to North Korea, which we hope will have an effect of impress­ing upon them that they need to recon­sid­er the sort of behav­ior they’ve been engaged in, includ­ing the Cheo­nan [inci­dent]. We’re also seek­ing to work with [South Korea] to increase and enhance the alliance’s capa­bil­i­ties — readi­ness, flex­i­bil­i­ty and our oper­a­tional capac­i­ty. So I think there’s a real pur­pose to these exercises.” 

Also on the agen­da for the talks is the trans­fer of wartime oper­a­tional con­trol of forces on the Kore­an penin­su­la to the South Kore­an mil­i­tary by Decem­ber 2015. Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma and South Kore­an Pres­i­dent Lee Myung-bak announced a delay in that trans­fer – orig­i­nal­ly sched­uled for April 2012 – after they met dur­ing June’s G‑20 Sum­mit in Toron­to. “This gives us appro­pri­ate time … with­in the exist­ing secu­ri­ty con­text to do this right,” Oba­ma said in Toron­to, “because this alliance is the linch­pin of not only secu­ri­ty for the Repub­lic of Korea and the Unit­ed States, but also for the Pacif­ic as a whole.” 

The senior defense offi­cial explained that the new tar­get date allows time to “syn­chro­nize all of the dif­fer­ent mov­ing pieces” of the oper­a­tional con­trol transfer. 

“If we had gone for­ward with the April 2012 date, [South Korea] would have been ful­ly mil­i­tar­i­ly pre­pared to take over wartime oper­a­tional con­trol at that point,” the offi­cial said. “But we have an oppor­tu­ni­ty to do an even bet­ter job, and to make sure that all of the dif­fer­ent pieces that are asso­ci­at­ed with the [oper­a­tional con­trol] tran­si­tion and with our secu­ri­ty and defense rela­tion­ship are locked up.” 

With both Gates and Clin­ton on hand to meet with their South Kore­an coun­ter­parts, the offi­cial added, the for­mat pro­vides for high-lev­el dis­cus­sions of not only the mil­i­tary alliance, but also the diplo­mat­ic and eco­nom­ic rela­tion­ships between the two countries. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Team GlobDef

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

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →