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Issue Report

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Regaining Wartime Operational Control and the ROK-US Alliance

Regaining Wartime Operational Control and the ROK-US Alliance

Oct. 13, 2006

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The issue of regaining the wartime operational control from the US Forces Korea has been controversial for months.

The military control issue has surfaced since in the 2006 New Year's press conference President Roh Moo-Hyun revealed his intention to take back the control. In July, the issue reemerged when the government brought it up while commenting on the possibility of North Korean missile test-firing.

The government explains that the wartime control issue was first raised by Roh Tae-Woo when he had made it a key presidential election pledge in 1987. The preparation for the transfer has been in the works since the early 1990s, government officials point out.

Those familiar with the wartime command transfer within the Roh Tae-Woo and Kim Young-Sam Administrations say that their focus at the time was on regaining "peacetime" control. They argue the "wartime" control transfer issue had never been on the political agenda.

Given the tenuous state of events on the Korean peninsula, including the missile threat and the latest nucear test, the issue should be approached more cautiously.

This PowerPoint slides were originally prepared for internal discussion.
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