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Test for OPCON transfer is excluded from ROK-U.S. military exercises

Test for OPCON transfer is excluded from ROK-U.S. military exercises

Posted August. 13, 2020 07:33,   

Updated August. 13, 2020 07:33


A U.S. official made a comment that a Full Operational Capability (FOC) test for the transfer of the wartime operational control (OPCON) has been completely removed from the ROK-U.S. military exercises to begin on Sunday. This raises potential issues in South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s plan to complete the transfer within his term.

“The ROK-U.S. military exercises this month do not include an FOC test at all,” Voice of America reported on Wednesday, citing the written answer from a U.S. official. Despite the South Korean military’s announcement of some preliminary FOC tests to be conducted in the upcoming exercises, the U.S. official denied it.

The joint military exercises scheduled from August 16 to 28 is a lot smaller in scope than last year due to the issues with mobilizing the U.S. forces and supplies stationed overseas as a result of COVID-19. The U.S. suggested focusing on wartime readiness posture training, which wasn’t conducted in the first half of the year, however, the South Korean government requested the inclusion of an FOC test in the upcoming exercises over the concerns that the OPCON transfer will be delayed. The U.S., however, has practically rejected our demand now.

Once an FOC test is postponed to next year, a Full Mission Capability (FMC) test is likely to be delayed to 2022. “Although South Korea and the U.S. have agreed on a ‘conditions-based transfer,’ the country is focused on achieving the transfer within the current president’s term,” a senior researcher at the Bruce Klingner Heritage Foundation told Voice of America.

Jong-Yeob JO jjj@donga.com