President Moon reiterates need for OPCON transfer

Posted on : 2017-09-29 17:13 KST Modified on : 2017-09-29 17:13 KST
South Korea’s “three axis” weapons program touted during Armed Forces Day ceremony at 2nd Fleet Command
President Moon Jae-in gives a salute while inspecting troops at a ceremony in advance of Armed Services Day at the South Korean Navy’s Second Fleet Command in Pyeongtaek
President Moon Jae-in gives a salute while inspecting troops at a ceremony in advance of Armed Services Day at the South Korean Navy’s Second Fleet Command in Pyeongtaek

“It’s only when we regain wartime operational control of our military that North Korea will fear us more and the South Korean public will trust the military more. The goal of this administration is to accelerate the transfer of wartime operational control,” South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Sept. 28.

“As the commander-in-chief of the military, I will do everything in my power to ensure the success of the reform of the national defense,” Moon said, as he called for the military to do its best to speed up the construction of South Korea’s three-axis weapons program, which consists of a preemptive defense system known as the “kill chain,” the Korean Air and Missile Defense (KAMD) and the Korean Massive Punishment and Retaliation (KMPR). Moon’s remarks are thought to emphasize his determination to take the initiative in resolving the security crisis on the Korean Peninsula based on South Korean military capabilities.

Moon made the remarks during a commemorative address at the Second Fleet Command of the South Korean Navy in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, just before Armed Forces Day on Oct. 1, which marks the 69th anniversary of the establishment of the Republic of Korea Armed Forces. “What we are seeking is clear -- peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula. Our government’s commitment to defend peace is based on a strong national defense,” he said. Achieving that requires “an army that wins,” Moon said, declaring this to be the top priority of defense reform.

Moon reiterated his strong commitment to peace as he emphasized keeping tensions in check. “The current security crisis on the Korean peninsula is graver than ever before, which is very trying and painful for us, but it cannot shake our commitment to peace. As the government further bolsters its military readiness based on the firm joint defense stance of the South Korea-US alliance, we are focusing all our capabilities on maintaining stability so that heightened tensions do not lead to a military clash,” he said.

This was the first time since the establishment of the armed forces that the commemorative event for Armed Forces Day was held at a naval base. The commemorative event also featured a large number of weapons that are key components of South Korea’s three-axis weapons system – including the Hyunmoo-2 ballistic missile and the M-SAM (mid-range surface-to-air missile) – which was another first for the event. Some think this was supposed to emphasize Moon’s beliefs that the capabilities of the army, the navy, and the air force should be upgraded equally as well as his resolve to respond firmly to North Korean provocations.

By Lee Jung-ae, staff reporter

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