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Military chiefs of S. Korea, U.S. agree to make 'visible progress' on OPCON transition

Defense 10:05 February 02, 2021

SEOUL, Feb. 2 (Yonhap) -- Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Won In-choul held video talks with his U.S. counterpart Gen. Mark Milley on Tuesday and agreed to continue efforts to make "visible progress" on the envisioned transition of wartime operational control (OPCON) of South Korean troops from Washington to Seoul, the military said.

During their first talks since the launch of the President Joe Biden administration, the two military leaders also vowed to develop their combined defense posture based on the "ironclad" alliance between the two countries, according to the JCS.

"The two leaders highly evaluated last year's preparation efforts for the wartime OPCON transition, despite impacts from COVID-19, and agreed to continue the effort this year in order to make visible progress on wartime OPCON transition," it said in a release.

No exact time frame has been set for the envisioned transition, but the current Moon Jae-in administration has hoped to retake it within Moon's term that ends in May 2022.

Gen. Won congratulated the launch of the new administration in Washington and the inauguration of Lloyd Austin as the new secretary of defense, and said he hopes the alliance develops in a more "mutually complementary" and "future-oriented" manner under the new leadership.

Gen. Milley called the South Korea-U.S. alliance a "linchpin" for regional peace and prosperity, and vowed to continue cooperation to strengthen their ties, according to the JCS.

They exchanged assessments on the current security situation of the Korean Peninsula and agreed to continue supporting their governments' diplomatic efforts for denuclearization and to build peace on the peninsula, it said.

This image, provided by the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Feb. 2, 2021, shows its chairman Gen. Won In-choul (R) and his U.S. counterpart Gen. Mark Milley. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


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