The United States and South Korea have an "iron clad" alliance in
the face of the "up close, dangerous" threat of North Korea, Defense
Secretary Ash Carter said in Seoul during a visit in November 2015.
In a joint
press briefing with Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo, Carter said
he and his Korean counterpart on Monday discussed North Korean
threats including nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, cyber, and
conventional military threats.
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Republic of Korea Minister of Defense Minkoo Han visit the Demilitarized Zone in the Republic of Korea, Nov.1, 2015. Carter is visiting the Asia-Pacific region, where he will meet with leaders from more than a dozen nations to help advance the next phase of the U.S. military's rebalance in the region by modernizing longtime alliances and building new partnerships.
(DOD News photo by Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz)
"Those threats continue to put at risk the peace and security of
the peninsula, the region, and the United States," Carter said.
Carter and Han met for the 47th Republic of Korea and United
States Security Consultative Meeting in Seoul.
"Over the years, circumstances may change, and
technology may change, but what doesn't change is our determination
to move forward, our partnership to deter and respond to North
Korean threats," Carter said.
Transition of Wartime Operational Control
U.S.-South Korea alliance took a "major step forward" during the
meeting with the signing of the conditions-based approach to the
transition of wartime operational control, Carter said.
He said that approach will ensure South
Korean forces have the necessary defensive capabilities to address
the North Korean threat. The transfer of wartime control is to
happen after South Korea improves in areas including
counter-artillery, command and control, and intelligence gathering,
South Korea has maintained peacetime control of its
military since 1994, but those forces would fall under U.S. command
if hostilities broke out on the peninsula.
South Korea was
scheduled to take wartime control by the end of 2015, however, that
was modified to focus on South Korea achieving critical defensive
capabilities against an intensifying North Korean threat.
'Up Close, Dangerous and Continuing
Carter said the U.S. and South Korea remain
ready to "fight tonight." The two allies, he said, continue to stand
"shoulder to shoulder" in South Korea, where thousands of U.S.
troops are stationed.
Carter noted he
visited the heavily fortified demilitarized zone between North and
South Korea Nov. 1, and on a previous trip saw the Cheonan memorial
for the 46 South Korean sailors killed in March, 2010, during a
North Korea torpedo attack.
The DMZ and Cheonan attack are
"stark reminders that North Korea is an up close, dangerous, and
continuing threat to the security of the peninsula and the region,"
Han, through an interpreter, said the close
collaboration between the United States and South Korea nations is
an "effective and successful deterrence" for further North Korean
By Lisa Ferdinando
DOD News / Defense Media Activity
Comment on this article