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Pres. Lee Defends Delayed Transfer of Wartime Command

Posted July. 13, 2010 12:38,   


President Lee Myung-bak said Monday that his government made a sovereign decision to delay the transfer of wartime operational command from the U.S.

“Some are voicing criticism over the transfer’s postponement in stressing the importance of an autonomous national defense. The rescheduling, however, constitutes a choice that is substantial and sovereign in nature," he said in a radio address.

South Korea and the U.S. postponed the transfer from April 2012 to December 2015 amid heightened tension with North Korea.

“There are many powerful nations in Europe but the U.S.-led NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) is the underlying framework of the region’s security,” the president said. “The issue must be understood within the larger context of the security of East Asia and the world as a whole.”

He added that the South Korean military will secure enough core capabilities by December 2015 to ensure a smooth control transfer.

On the free trade agreement with the U.S., President Lee said, “The Korea-U.S. free trade agreement issue has recently seen a surprising outcome. (U.S.) President Barack Obama has set a timeframe for the deal, showing a strong desire for its prompt conclusion.”