Readout of Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan Meeting With Defense Minister Jeong Keyong-doo of the Republic of Korea
Readout of the meeting between U.S. Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan and ROK Minister of National Defense Jeong Keyong-doo
Minister of National Defense Jeong Keyong-doo and Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan held a U.S.-ROK defense ministerial meeting on April 1, 2019, and discussed U.S.-ROK efforts to support denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula after the second U.S.-DPRK Summit, as well as other key alliance issues.
The secretary and minister affirmed that the U.S.-ROK Alliance is “ironclad” and ready to face an evolving security environment. They pledged to closely cooperate in order to further develop and reinforce the alliance through the synchronized efforts of the U.S.-ROK military authorities. The two sides reaffirmed the commitment to maintain an unwavering combined readiness posture while continuing to support the ongoing diplomatic efforts to achieve complete denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula.
Secretary Shanahan and Minister Jeong both expressed their satisfaction with the close communication between the U.S.-ROK military and defense authorities. They also pledged to enhance coordination and cooperation in various areas, including information sharing pertaining to North Korean issues, such as North Korean nuclear and missile activities.
Gen. Abrams, commander, Combined Forces Command (CFC), provided the minister and the secretary an evaluation of the ‘Dongmaeng’ exercise executed in March, and assessed that the revised exercise and training strengthened their combined defense and readiness posture and contributed to the groundwork for the transition of wartime operational control (OPCON) for the CFC. The two sides also agreed to work toward initial operational capability certification of a ROK-led combined defense posture in 2019, and committed to stay in close consultation.
Minister Jeong updated Secretary Shanahan on the ROK’s efforts towards achieving the Conditions-Based OPCON Transition. Secretary Shanahan reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to continue providing the U.S. military’s bridging and enduring capabilities to defend the ROK even after the transition of wartime OPCON. The two sides committed to closely cooperate to expedite the fulfilment of conditions needed for OPCON transition including the ROK military’s acquisition of critical military capabilities.
The minister informed the secretary of the ROK’s new Defense Reform 2.0, devised as a result of the changing security environment. Secretary Shanahan voiced his hopes that Defense Reform 2.0 would enhance alliance capabilities and contribute to the transition of wartime OPCON transition and the ROK-led Future Combined Forces Command.
The secretary and the minister assessed that implementation of the Comprehensive Military Agreement has contributed to the easing of military tension and confidence building on the Korean Peninsula. They reaffirmed that they will continue to closely coordinate to support CMA implementation.