Defense Minister Suh Wook (C) attends a meeting with top commanders to discuss progress in South Korea's efforts to retake wartime operational control from the United States at the defense ministry in Seoul on Wednesday, in this photo provided by the ministry. (Yonhap)
South Korea's Defense Minister Suh Wook called on all armed services Wednesday to unify their "will and efforts" to ensure this year's planned assessment required for the envisioned transfer of wartime operational control (OPCON) will proceed successfully.
Suh made the remarks during a meeting of top commanders to evaluate South Korea's efforts to retake OPCON from the United States, as the allies are set to stage the full operational capability (FOC) assessment later this year.
During their annual defense ministerial talks in December, Seoul and Washington agreed to conduct the assessment this fall. Later, Seoul officials said the allies will discuss the possibility of holding it earlier than planned, but its exact timing has yet to be announced.
"Especially, the minister stressed the need for all armed services to unify their will and efforts for a successful FOC assessment," the defense ministry said in a press release.
The minister also portrayed the conditions-based OPCON transfer as an essential task to achieve the goal of "steadfast" defense under the mindset that "our defense is our responsibility," according to the ministry.
Wednesday's meeting was attended by top South Korean defense officials, including Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Won In-choul and top commanders of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. (Yonhap)