S.Korea's stance on transfer of wartime operational control remains unchanged: DM

11:14, October 20, 2009      

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South Korea on Monday reaffirmed that the country's stance on the transfer of wartime operational control of its troops from Washington to Seoul remains unchanged, stressing that all the preparations for the transfer due in April 2012 are underway properly.

According to local media, a senior U.S. administration official on Friday hinted the possibility of rescheduling the transfer process amid growing concerns over nuclear and missile threats from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), saying that" the decision will be made based on how things look in 2012."

In response, Won Tae-jae, spokesman from the Ministry of National Defense, said on Monday that while the defense authorities of both South Korea and the United States pay close attention to the threats from the DPRK, they will also make efforts to seek a normal process of the transfer of the wartime operational control.

The two sides will also conduct joint inspection and assessment on the transfer situations, and reflect it in the process, Won added.

Local experts said though the clarification made by the defense ministry did not rule out the possibility of rescheduling the transfer process in line with the political and security situations on the Korean Peninsula, but it stressed there is no need to adjust the transfer plan currently.

The U.S.-led U.N. Command captured the operational control of South Korean military forces in 1950 when the Korean War erupted. South Korea took back the peacetime control of its 650,000-strong forces in 1994 but the wartime operational control still remains in the hands of the U.S. commander in South Korea.

Seoul officially requested regaining the wartime operational control in September 2005. According to an agreement reached between the two sides, Washington will transfer the wartime operational control to Seoul on April, 17, 2012.

Source: Xinhua
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