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Wartime Control Push Alarms Veterans

Posted August. 11, 2006 04:41,   


Former defense ministers and veterans adopted a statement yesterday, emphasizing that the government must seek national consensus and the approval of the National Assembly over the issue of regaining wartime operational control.

Former minister Lee Sang-hoon and 16 other former defense ministers and 10 army veterans including reserve Gen. Baik Sun-yup held an emergency meeting yesterday at the Korean Veterans Association building in Seoul.

“Taking over the wartime operational control will cost astronomical amount of money imposing a severe financial burden on the public. Moreover, it is a critical security matter that will determine the people and the country’s fate. Thus, we demand that the government ask the people’s opinion and get approval from the National Assembly,” they said.

“We were shocked to hear President Roh Moo-hyun say that the wartime control can be transferred any time, to which we strongly disagree,” they went on to criticize.

“At a time when we are seeing a greater threat from North Korea’s nuclear development and missiles, it is frustrating to see the president, who is responsible for the nation’s defense and the people’s safety, taking the national security issue lightly. We wonder who his security advisors are,” they deplored.

They also proposed to the president that he listen to security experts rather than idealists when it comes to national security matters.

“The transfer of wartime control will immediately dismantle the operational structure of the Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command, which holds the greatest deterrence against North Korea in the world. In addition, it is sure to break up Korea-U.S. alliance leading to the withdrawal of the U.S. forces in Korea. Then, we will end up falling prey to North Korea’s plot, aimed at forcing U.S. troops out of the South,” they worried.

They also pointed out that both the ruling and opposition parties are being passive over such an important matter of the nation’s very existence.

In response, Song Min-sun, the president’s chief secretary for national defense, made clear that although the law requires the government to seek the National Assembly’s approval before signing a treaty with another country, which restricts our sovereignty, the issue surrounding wartime control does not need such consent as it is the opposite case where we are trying to get back something we gave up in the past.