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US requests delay in talks on new joint military command

US requests delay in talks on new joint military command

Posted November. 08, 2012 07:36,   


The U.S. has requested South Korea to postpone talks on setting up a new combined military command until after the South`s next administration is launched in February, said a senior military source in Seoul on Wednesday.

The source said U.S. military authorities made the proposal in the 44th bilateral Security Consultative Meeting held in Washington in October. The new combined military command would replace the existing Combined Forces Command, which is scheduled to be disbanded in December 2015 when Washington will hand over wartime control of the South Korean military to Seoul. The defense ministers of the two countries had initially agreed to form a joint task force by the end of the year to study the structure of the new command.

“Washington fears that even if it proceeds with the talks on the new combined command with the incumbent (South Korean) administration, the next administration in Seoul will likely reverse the decision,” the source said. “Both sides agreed to start discussing the issue after the new administration is launched.”

Observers say Washington might be considering the possibility of a regime change after South Korea’s presidential election in December. The U.S. is fearful, they say, that if South Korea’s new administration stresses engagement with North Korea and military sovereignty as the previous Roh Moo-hyun administration did, discussion of a new combined command will likely go nowhere.

Another source said, “The purpose of forming a new combined command is to address concerns over possible disruptions in waging war under a dual command system between the two countries. The plan cannot proceed if the next (South Korean) administration thinks that the new combined command system goes against Seoul’s recovery of military sovereignty.”

Under the new proposal, South Korean and U.S. military authorities agreed to create a joint task force for the new command after South Korea`s presidential election and begin talks on the issue after the new administration is launched in February next year. They plan to draw up a final proposal by the end of March after military leaders from both sides review it, and seek a final agreement at their Military Committee Meeting in April before implementing the new system to the Ulchi Freedom Guardian joint military exercise.