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Korean Wartime OPCON Transition Delayed Again; US Disappointed and Fed Up
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Korean Wartime OPCON Transition Delayed Again; US Disappointed and Fed Up
  • By matthew
  • October 2, 2013, 18:12
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Upon US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s visit to Korea (September 29-October 2), Korea had hopes of postponing the wartime OPCON transition, but the US had mixed feelings.
Upon US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s visit to Korea (September 29-October 2), Korea had hopes of postponing the wartime OPCON transition, but the US had mixed feelings.

 

According to the Washington Post on September 30 (local time), the US government and assembly feel disappointed in Korea’s movement to request postponing the wartime OPCON transition originally set for 2015. 

WP said, “Korean government officials have been enhancing publicity regarding the postponing the wartime OPCON transition since this summer, but the US officials do not agree,” and added, “In fact, some are disappointed in how Korea does not seem to take responsibility for its national defense.”

WP also reported that a few members within the assembly are equally fed up with Korea’s attitude. It seems that there are negative views on Korea denying the wartime OPCON transition, especially when the US is facing the sequester and large scale national budget cuts. 

WP reported that Carl Levin (the senior United States Senator from Michigan) has mentioned this issue at the military committee confirmation hearing about the nominee Curtis Scaparrotti for commander of the US forces in Korea held on July 30 by saying, “Korea is an independent nation which needs to be in charge of its own national defense at wartime,” and emphasized, “Korea has the biggest responsibility for Korean national defense if a war is to break out.”

However, WP reported that Obama administration officials are concerned that the wartime OPCON transition could be seen as a sign of US regional security commitments weakening. 

Regarding this, Korean governmental officials in Washington reported that the actual feelings in the US are not all that negative.

They have recently met with the US government and assembly figures and found out that not too many people hold negative opinions toward postponing the wartime OPCON transition. 

They said, “Views and expressions can vary even about the same fact,” and added, “We are in the process of serious discussions on reviewing the conditions for postponing the wartime OPCON, based on objective security conditions and Korea’s readiness.”

Both nations expect a “vague decision” saying parties will continue discussions on wartime OPCON transitions to be made at the Security Consultative Meeting beginning on October 2. 

On September 29 (local time), Hagel held an interview on the plane on his way to Korea and announced, “It is not the right time to make final decisions” regarding the postponement discussions.