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Defense minister to expedite 2nd stage FOC for OPCON transfer

Defense minister to expedite 2nd stage FOC for OPCON transfer

Posted December. 25, 2020 07:39,   

Updated December. 25, 2020 07:39


South Korean Defense Minister Suh Wook said that he will put forward the timing for verifying the second stage of full operational capacity (FOC) of the South Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command following the transfer of wartime operational control (OPCON). He seemingly implied his will to facilitate the OPCON transfer process within President Moon Jae-in’s tenure as U.S. President-elect Joe Biden is about to take office. The idea to carry out an FOC verification within next year became a feasible idea as the U.S. delegation expressed opposition during the 52nd South Korea-U.S. Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) held in Washington, D.C. in October.

Minister Suh said during a pre-recorded segment of “Gukbang Focus” on K Force TV, which is scheduled to air on Friday, that Seoul will cooperate closely with Washington to make a second stage FOC verification happen at an earlier time with all related conditions in mind such as the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that a constant effort will be made, in line with the Defense Reform 2.0, to make early preparations for core military capabilities regarding the OPCON transfer, according to a military official on Thursday.

However, there is skepticism that Washington takes a pessimistic viewpoint toward getting an FOC verification done next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the South Korean military's poor preparedness. The OPCON transfer can be executed under the current South Korean administration only when next year sees the second stage FOC and the third stage full mission capability (FMC) complete, which is one of the conditions on which the two nations agreed.

Kyu-Jin Shin newjin@donga.com