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Roh Rejects Idea of Deployment of USFK Against Korea’s Will

Roh Rejects Idea of Deployment of USFK Against Korea’s Will

Posted March. 08, 2005 22:39,   


Concerning the “strategic flexibility” issue of dispatching the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) to other areas in Northeast Asia in times of crisis, President Roh Moo-hyun said yesterday, “One thing for sure is that our people will not be embroiled in Northeast Asia’s conflicts without our volition, and this is a resolute principle that cannot be yielded in any circumstance.”

President Roh said the above in a congratulatory speech he gave at the graduation ceremony of the 53rd class of Air Force Academy graduates held at the academy’s parade ground in Cheongwon-gun, North Chungcheong Province, and added, “Some have recently voiced various concerns over the extended role of the USFK, which in other words, are concerns about its strategic flexibility.”

Since President Roh’s remark is an objection to the strategic flexibility of the USFK that the U.S. is demanding together with a force reduction, relevant future deal-making with the U.S. is receiving the spotlight. President Roh has shown his reservations on this issue.

Regarding the issue, a government authority explained, “[President Roh’s comment] has a “doctrinal” characteristic, making clear that the intervention of the USFK in Northeast Asia’s regional conflicts, which is directly related to the fate of our nation and nationals, cannot be made without our will.”

Meanwhile, President Roh directly discussed the issue of redeeming wartime operation command, which the U.S. possesses currently, stating, “Our military will develop into an independent force that has autonomous operation command within the next 10 years. In preparation for the wartime operation command redemption, [the military] should secure its own operation planning capability.”

Since his commemorative speech on Independence Day, August 15, 2003, President Roh has been maintaining that he would “pave the way for an independent national defense within the next ten years.” Thus, yesterday’s remark elucidated that his independent national defense plan included the redemption of operation command.”

In addition, President Roh urged, “Our military’s goal is to secure the peace and prosperity of not only the Korean Peninsula but also Northeast Asia, and we will firmly maintain regional peace as a ‘power balancer’ of Northeast Asia. On the foundation of the Korea-U.S. alliance, we should strengthen intimate cooperation with our neighbors and at the same time secure the capability for independent national defense.”

Jung-Hun Kim jnghn@donga.com