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South Korea Wants Wartime Control of its Military

30 September 2017

President Moon Jae-in (front row, second from L) salutes armed service members in a ceremony held at the headquarters of the Korean Navy 2nd Fleet in Pyeongtaek, 70 kilometers southwest of Seoul, on September 28, 2017 to mark the 69th Korean Armed Forces Day that falls on October 1.

Chung Eui-young made the remarks on Wednesday during President Moon Jae-in's meeting with the leaders of major parties at the presidential office, said Park Wan-joo, the spokesman of the ruling Democratic Party. "And we will stand up against reckless provocations with strong punishment", the president said in a ceremony marking the Korean Armed Forces Day, which falls on Sunday.

Amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula, South Korea and US forces recently held their first joint short range air defense training exercise in South Korea, according to a statement released by the US Pacific Command on Friday.

Moon also said the Korea-U.S. combined defense capabilities must be strengthened with procurement efforts.

Still, Moon stressed the need for his country to regain the wartime operational control (OPCON) of its own armed forces at an early date.

Technically, wartime operational control is supposed to stay in US hands until Korea is considered ready to command the troops. There is nothing new about North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile development, and the claim that the South Korean military is inadequately prepared isn't persuasive either, since it constitutes self-deprecation of our national defense capabilities. "Together with the people, I have confidence in our military", he said.

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"The president handpicked the venue because it was a symbolic place for the Cheonan's sinking and Yeonpyeong sea skirmish", said a senior Blue House official, referring to two deadly naval incidents involving North Korea.

National Security Office (NSO) chief Chung Eui-yong reported to lawmakers on Wednesday that the USA had promised to "expand the rotational deployment of the strategic assets around the Korean peninsula".

Moon invited political leaders for a dinner and discussion on national security issues.

Pyongyang says it will not give up on its nuclear deterrence unless Washington ends its hostile policy toward the country and dissolves the US-led United Nations command in South Korea.

""(The deployment) will begin as early as late this year, and this will help us expand our defense capabilities", he added. "Right now, the two sides are having talks about the schedule and direction".

South Korea Wants Wartime Control of its Military