‘Pyongyang will fear us more’: South Korea wants to transfer wartime army command from US

Thursday, September 28, 2017
By Paul Martin

RT.com
28 Sep, 2017

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has called for the long-delayed transfer of its wartime operational control (OPCON) from the Pentagon to be speeded up, and says the country must develop its own military capacity to “punish” North Korea’s “provocations.”

“North Korea will fear us more and the people will have more faith in our military when we have wartime operational control of our military. The transfer of the wartime operational control based on our strong defense capabilities will lead to a great development of our military’s structure and capabilities,”said Moon during a speech to mark the 69th Korean Armed Forces Day at a navy base in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul.

Between 1950, when General Douglas McArthur took charge of the South Korean army, and 1994, a US general served as its commander. Since then, Seoul has taken back peacetime control of its armed forces, but would delegate command to the US in case of a conflict, though Korean politicians do formally have a veto.

The handover of OPCON to Korean generals has been discussed, touted and negotiated for decades, but in 2014 Seoul asked Washington to postpone it indefinitely, to give the Asian country a chance to build its “core military capabilities.”

Moon, elected in May this year, now believes that South Korea has to be more proactive in strengthening its army, in the wake of a series of missile and nuclear tests by the North.

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