Incoming gov't may seek delay of OPCON transfer to maintain strong defense

By Byun Duk-kun
SEOUL, Jan. 9 (Yonhap)

President-elect Lee Myung-bak's incoming administration is considering delaying the reclamation of wartime command of its troops from the United States, citing the continued threat from nuclear-armed North Korea, aides to Lee said Wednesday.

For Lee's conservative Grand National Party, delaying or scrapping the transfer of wartime operational control (OPCON) would enable the U.S. and South Korea to make the alliance as strong as it was before what the party calls Seoul's 10-year "interregnum" under liberal rule.

But for the United States, a proposal to renegotiate the transfer of wartime OPCON runs counter to its goal of reducing its military presence on the Korean Peninsula.

Lee's transition team claimed Tuesday the Defense Ministry has agreed to rearrange the agreed transfer of the OPCON in consideration of the continued threats from nuclear-armed North Korea.

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english.yonhapnews  (Posted 1/26/08)