US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was in Seoul last month talking about the handover with the Koreans everything seemed fine though I was skeptical about more delays especially when former USFK commander General B.B. Bell came out and said the transfer needs to be stopped. Now this month the Koreans want yet another delay:
A top U.S. government official said Tuesday South Korea has requested another delay in the schedule to regain operational control (OPCON) of its troops in the event of war.
“I know that has been proposed by the South Korean government, and we are looking at that, working with the South Korean government,” the official told Yonhap News Agency on background.
Related consultations are under way between the allies, with the White House and the State Department handling the issue, added the official.
He emphasized that the U.S. would not “abruptly make decisions that would impair or endanger the security of South Korea.”
“We need to keep working on this,” he said.
A senior South Korean official confirmed that Seoul made such an offer to further postpone the OPCON transfer currently slated for Dec. 1, 2015.
“From the past, there have been discussions on the timing of the OPCON transition. There are works that don’t necessarily need to be implemented on schedule,” he said on the condition of anonymity.
Publicly, the South Korean and U.S. governments have stated that the OPCON transfer plan is on track as the two sides are trying to meet the deadline. [Yonhap]
You can read more at the link as well as over at the Marmot’s Hole. The Koreans were supposed to take over Operational Control back in 2012 but it was delayed to 2015 reportedly as a quid pro quo by the Koreans deploying troops to Afghanistan. I support the transfer of Operational Control for the reasons you can read about at this link, but I am skeptical it is going to happen any time soon due to the Korean delay games and so far the unwillingness of the US government to force the Koreans to stick to the timeline.