Maybe the Korean government was hoping the command transfer issue would be forgotten with the ouster of former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld? They thought wrong:
The four-star army general stressed the need for a firm date for the transfer of operational control. He said that without a fixed date, the two militaries would not be able to draw up new joint war plans or secure military funding and equipment that would correspond to the changing military structure.
“Itâ€™s like rolling out new products. In about six months, that (fixed date) will give everybody a lot of confidence with regard to the ability of the alliance between the two countries,â€™â€™ said Bell, who concurrently serves as chief of Combined Forces Command (CFC) and United Nations Command (UNC).
He reaffirmed that the U.S. military would provide intelligence “bridging capabilitiesâ€™â€™ centered on surveillance and reconnaissance assets to the South Korean military if needed even after Seoul exercises independent wartime control of its armed forces.
This is really reaching a point of absurdity that the Korean government has yet to agree on a date for the hand over considering President Roh said the ROK Army could take operational control now if needed. As I have speculated before, President Roh is trying to drag out the handover to where it is implemented well after he has left office and any economic and political reprecussions he will have successfully avoided.
Maybe it is time for the USFK commander to issue an ultimatum like General Garry “Give Me My Damn Bombing Range” Trexler did in order to get a command handover date. It is sad when threats and ultimatums appear to be the only way to get major issues settled between USFK and the Korean government.