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[Editorial] Concerns over the Deep Roots of Korea-U.S. Disputes

[Editorial] Concerns over the Deep Roots of Korea-U.S. Disputes

Posted April. 15, 2005 23:34,   


In an attempt to prepare for possible contingencies within North Korea, the ROK-US Combined Forces Command (CFC) has reportedly been formulating “Operations Plan (OPLAN) 5029-05,” but scrapped the plan due to opposition from the National Security Council (NSC). “Several details in this plan could be major obstacles in Korea’s exercise of sovereignty,” explained NSC, but such an explanation is highly implausible. Assuming and preparing for possible crises, such as a collapse of the North Korean regime, is a bounden duty for both Korean and U.S. armed forces. This is the case especially at a time when the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) has command of wartime contingency operations.

It is not clear specifically what NSC referred to as “factors restricting (Korea’s) exercise of sovereignty.” Being a U.S. ally, however, the Korean government could have narrowed the difference between the two countries through consultation with the U.S. Does NSC believe that, even without such a plan, Korean forces could otherwise deal with a possible crisis independently?

Regarding this, a clearer explanation should be made. Our citizens have already been feeling nervous, as it seems even more apparent that there might be something wrong with the Korea-U.S. military dialogue channel.

A USFK commanding officer recently pronounced outspoken objection over the sharing of USFK defense expenses, and the two countries engaged in a tug of war regarding possible reduction of the Zaytun unit in Iraq. All these unprecedented conflicts and discords are partly attributable to Korea’s words and deeds that are seemingly shaking the foundation of the Korea-U.S. alliance.

The slogan of “independent defense” emerged right after the inauguration, followed by the president’s negative remarks on USFK’s strategic flexibility. The idea of Korea as a Northeast Asian stabilizer achieved no actual benefits, only heightening security alertness of neighboring countries, while the defense minister even stated, “Korea-China military cooperation will be promoted to the level of similar cooperation between Korea and Japan.” Under such circumstances, it is undeniable that the developments as a whole brought about doubts that Korea might “escape from the axis of the Korea-U.S. alliance.”

The government has been saying all the time that there is no trouble in the Korea-U.S. alliance. Nevertheless, the reality faced by citizens is quite different. Things that were unimaginable in the past are taking place, and that is why we feel worried. Our security environment, including the North Korean nuclear crisis, is showing no signs of improvement. There is no reason for us to be seen undermining the Korea-U.S. alliance, the very basis of our security.