Wednesday, July 9, 2014

South Korea: Dependence in the Age of OPCON The transfer of wartime operational control is part of larger questions about the US-ROK alliance.

................Control over a nation-state’s armed forces is a significant, if not the most fundamental, element of state sovereignty. Thus, calling South Korea a semi-sovereign state within the U.S.-ROK alliance is not so much a radical leftist critique as a statement of fact. The history of OPCON reveals Seoul’s fundamentally truncated sovereignty within the U.S.-ROK alliance. In July 1950, following the disastrous early phase of the Korean War, President Syngman Rhee handed over control of ROK armed forces to the United Nations Command (UNC), then under the leadership of General Douglas MacArthur. In 1978, the Combined Forces Command (CFC) was established, thus forming a U.S.-ROK integrated command structure, thenceforth always under the four-star U.S. Army General commanding United States Forces Korea (USFK). While peacetime OPCON was transferred back to the ROK in 1994, wartime OPCON remains under CFC auspices.

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