U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) Commander Gen. Paul LaCamera said on Monday that the U.S. is considering a “contingency plan” to support South Korea’s defending Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion. This suggests the USFK is making a contingency plan to tackle a potential armed conflict in Taiwan, with U.S. President Joe Biden having vowed a day earlier to defend Taiwan in the event of an unprecedented attack. This is the first time an incumbent USFK commander has mentioned the necessity for the U.S. forces to respond to the Chinese invasion.
Asked about a potential role for Seoul in the event of any Taiwan-related crisis, the USFK commander said he is working on a contingency plan to cope with any potential threat in a video symposium hosted by the Institute for Corean-American Studies (ICAS). Gen. LaCamera said it would be reasonable to consider the second and third shocks emanating from the Taiwan invasion, adding that it would be necessary to take references from the destructive impact of the Ukrainian crisis on the global economy and supply chains.
The commander said he could not deny whether Congress and the American people expect Seoul’s military support regarding America’s defense of Taiwan. He added the decision would be up to Seoul, adding, “The ROK fought together with the U.S. in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan,” indirectly commenting on the necessity that South Korea should join forces with the U.S. should China invade Taiwan.
With some stressing the need for the operational plan to include a measure to counter China, the commander added, “It is important to remember the fact that the ROK-US alliance is going beyond deterrence against the North and expanding into vigilance against China and Russia.”
“Any skirmish in the Korean Peninsula will escalate into a regional conflict,” he talked about the Sino-North Korean Mutual Aid and Cooperation Friendship. “The bilaterally focused ROK-US alliance needs to grow into a coalition to deter North Korea and maintain rules-based international order.”