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S. Korea, U.S. to hold regular defense talks on N. Korea, OPCON transfer

Diplomacy 15:29 May 07, 2021

SEOUL, May 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the United States will hold biannual defense talks next week in Washington to discuss regional security situations and the transition of the wartime operational control (OPCON), the defense ministry said Friday.

The 19th Korea-U.S. Integrated Defense Dialogue (KIDD) will take place Wednesday through Thursday, and Deputy Defense Minister Kim Man-ki and David Helvey, U.S. assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific affairs, will represent their countries, according to the ministry.

"The two sides are scheduled to discuss major pending security issues, such as the assessment of the security situation on the Korean Peninsula and the policy coordination on North Korea," the ministry said in a release.

The meeting comes as Washington completed a review of its policy on the North and said it would seek a "calibrated, practical" approach to achieve the goal of the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

North Korea has been ramping up rhetoric against the U.S. and South Korea, while rejecting dialogue offers.

Also on the table during the meeting will be the conditions-based OPCON transition, and the development of the mutually beneficial alliance, according to the ministry.

The two sides are working for the transition of the wartime operational control of South Korean troops from Washington to Seoul. Seoul seeks to achieve the goal at an early date, though no specific timeframe has been set and there have been delays in due procedures for the transfer amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Launched in 2011, KIDD is a comprehensive defense meeting between Seoul and Washington that integrates a set of consultative mechanisms, such as the Extended Deterrence Policy Committee and the Security Policy Initiative. The forum usually meets twice a year.

This photo, provided by the defense ministry, shows Deputy Defense Minister Chung Suk-hwan (C) during the biannual 18th Korea-U.S. Integrated Defense Dialogue (KIDD) that the two countries held via videoconferencing on Sept. 9 and Sept. 11, 2020. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

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