News / Asia

US General: Command Transfer In South Korea Will Proceed Despite Anxieties

Seoul scheduled to assume wartime command of its own forces in 2012 but some argue timetable is too hasty

Kurt Achin

The commander of American forces stationed in South Korea says a major shift in command structure on the peninsula will proceed as scheduled.  He says the alliance between the two countries will be just as effective as in the past six decades.

General Walter Sharp told a gathering of business leaders in Seoul, Tuesday, the United States and South Korea do not intend to alter plans for a command shift scheduled to take place in two years.

The United States positions about 28,000 military personnel in South Korea to deter or defeat any repeat of North Korea's 1950 invasion of the South.  Under the present alliance agreement, the United States would command South Korea's military in the event the Korean War were restarted.  However, South Korea is scheduled to assume wartime command of its own forces on April 17, 2012.

Some South Koreans have argued that timetable is too hasty, and that South Korea may not be ready.  Sharp disagrees.  He says South Korea's forces have evolved into an "outstanding military," and that the United States is now willing to play a supporting role.

"I think that sends a strong signal to North Korea... and I do think to change that would send the wrong signal," Sharp said.

The general offered reassurance that the transfer of wartime operational control, or OPCON, is not as radical a change as some would believe.

"OPCON transition does not mean - does not mean - that the Republic of Korea has to have independent and self-reliant forces.  We, the U.S., are committed to provide the capabilities - very similar to what we're doing right now - that we need to be able to fight and win, if North Korea were ever to attack" said Sharp.

For obvious reasons, U.S. and South Korean war plans are not made public.  However, military analysts say, in a wartime situation, South Korea would likely do much of the fighting on the ground while the United States would offer high-tech logistics and surveillance support as as air cover.

"So it is a combined war fight now, and it will remain combined in that both of us will be fighting side by side... after OPCON transition," said Sharp.

He says the United States and South Korea are in constant communication to keep war plans up to date.

"The operations plans... are not against the North Korea of yesterday or today.   They are against the North Korea of what we see will be in place with its capabilities in 2012.  And we continue to adjust that," Sharp said.

He says the U.S. - South Korean alliance is ready for any contingency, including instability or a humanitarian emergency in the North.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid