News Zone

Recent News

[52nd ROK-US Security Consultative Meeting] ROK and US Defense Ministers agree to “develop a complementary and forward-looking R...

The two defense ministers agreed to continue to enhance future defense cooperation and mutual trust; to explore ways to implement a customized extended deterrence strategy; and, to closely cooperate with each other to establish a permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula

[52nd ROK-US Security Consultative Meeting] ROK an

The defense ministers of the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United States (US) reaffirmed the combined defense commitment of the two nations for a strong ROK-US alliance and the defense of the ROK. During the 52nd ROK-US Security Consultative Meeting (SCM), held in Washington D.C. on October 14 (local time), Minister of National Defense Suh Wook and his US counterpart Mark Esper discussed the achievements and direction of development of the ROK-US alliance.

The two ministers shared the assessment that the US Forces in Korea (USFK) has played a key role in maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula over the past 67 years. Specifically, they agreed that the USFK will continue to play an important role in promoting peace and stability in Northeast Asia, as well as in preventing any armed conflict on the peninsula.

Esper reaffirmed the US’s unshakable commitment to the combined defense for ROK, specified in the ROK-US Mutual Defense Treaty, stressing “the US will provide extended deterrence to ROK by operating all categories of military capabilities, including nuclear, conventional and missile defense capabilities.”

Suh and Esper pledged to ensure the ROK-US alliance’s reliability, capability, and the sustainability of the deterrence posture. To do this, the two ministers agreed to strengthen deterrence capabilities by implementing many policy suggestions presented through joint research of extended deterrence. Specifically, as part of this commitment they agreed to establish a long-term plan to set the conditions for the stable stationing of a THADD unit in Seongju County. They also agreed to jointly explore ways to enhance the ROK-US alliance’s deterrence posture and to implement a customized deterrence strategy.

Sharing the assessment that “SCM played a pivotal role in the development of the ROK-US alliance,” the two ministers agreed to continue to develop a complementary and forward-looking ROK-US alliance. They also agreed to continue to enhance the future defense cooperation and mutual trust, as well as the common values that form the groundwork of the ROK-US relations, such as freedom, democracy, human rights, and governing by law, accomplishing the goal presented in the joint study for the ‘future defense vision of the ROK-US alliance.’

The two ministers also shared their assessments of the security situation on the Korean Peninsula and in the region. Specifically, they had an in-depth discussion about North Korea's recent military activities. Suh and Esper reaffirmed the need to closely cooperate with each other in order to achieve a permanent peace on the peninsula through North Korea’s complete denuclearization and the dismantling of its ballistic missile program, in accordance with the United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC) resolutions.
The two ministers also discussed defense issues between the ROK and US, stressing the USFK’s continuous exercises as an essential requirement for the maintenance of a strong combined defense posture. They also shared opinions regarding the performance and vision of the ROK-US Combined Forces Command. Regarding the transfer of wartime operational control (OPCON), one of the main ROK-US alliance issues, Suh and Esper stressed the progress of the ‘condition-based OPCON transfer plan’ and discussed the future direction of the OPCON transfer, including the verification of full operational capability (FOC).

The two ministers agreed that “the requirements specified in the ‘condition-based OPCON transfer plan’ should be sufficiently met before the transfer of OPCON to the future combined forces command,” analyzing that there has been great progress in meeting the requirements for the OPCON transfer. Specifically, they highly appreciated the activities of a special standing military committee, as well as the fact that a standing military committee to manage the OPCON transfer issues has met several times this year. On a similar note, Suh reaffirmed the ROK’s commitment to acquiring the proper defense capabilities the ROK military requires for the defense of the Korean Peninsula, and the two countries pledged to continue a joint study for the optimization of complementary and sustainable capabilities by connecting the development of the ROK’s capabilities.


The two ministers also shared opinions on a range of issues, including the evaluation of the ROK and North Korean military authorities’ actions and the UN Forces Command’s role in peace on the Korean Peninsula, the maintenance and development of a combined defense posture, joint responses to the emerging threats, cooperation in related areas such as defense research and development, cooperation in addressing international security challenges, enhancement of peace and stability in Northeast Asia, relocation of the USFK camp, and defense cost-sharing. Ending the meeting, the two ministers agreed that the SCM and the 45th ROK-US Military Committee Meeting (MCM) had "contributed to practically strengthening the ROK-US alliance and developing a complementary ROK-US alliance."

By Su-Yeol, Maeng < >

<Copyright ⓒ The Korea Defense Daily, All rights reserved>


  • (Presentation and Follow-on discussion)