Talks over operational plan with U.S. stalled
Negotiations between Seoul and Washington over a new plan to take effect after South Korea takes over wartime operational control from the United States in 2015 have been suspended, according to various military sources on Monday.
The new plan, code-named Oplan 5015, would replace the current Oplan 5027 and permit the U.S. to intervene militarily in the event of fighting between the two Koreas.
“We have been in talks over Oplan 5015 that would take over the Oplan 5027, with the idea of the Korean military leading the operational plan and the U.S. military supporting that plan after Seoul takes over wartime operational control,” a government official told the JoongAng Ilbo.
The 5015 plan would incorporate some strategies of both the 5027 and 5029 plans.
“The Oplan 5015 would include the plans of the 5029 and also expand the number of American soldiers being deployed.”
Oplan 5029 is another plan based on six possible scenarios involving the North, including an outflow of weapons of mass destruction, change in power, internal war in the North, a large-scale defection, a major natural disaster and a South Korean hostage situation in the North.
“There was some progress in the negotiations, but recently talks have been temporarily suspended,” the official said.
The two countries have been engaged in discussions over crafting the Oplan 5015 since 2010.
Oplan 5027, the current war plan, is mapped out into five different stages, which include first deploying the U.S. military’s flexible deterrence power, destroying strategic targets in the North, entering the North, controlling the military of the occupied territory and finally, unification of the peninsula under the control of the South Korean government.
With a temporary halt in discussions between Seoul and Washington about Oplan 5015, analysts say that the two have been engaged in different opinions in dealing with North Korea after the regime’s long-range missile launch in December, last year, and the nuclear test this month.
“After the sinking of the Cheonan warship and shelling of Yeonpyeong Island, [South’s] military has requested [the U.S. counterpart] to include in the Oplan 5015 a counterplan against local provocation and also a plan for a pre-emptive strike against the North’s nuclear test site,” the official said.
“But the U.S. military has maintained a position that [such request] is hard to accept.”
According to the official, in the case of a local provocation by the North, Washington has maintained the position that the Oplan 5015 should be focused on preventing the war from spreading in order to prepare for an intervention by the Chinese military.
“Late last month, when there was a joint [South-U.S.] antisubmarine drill involving the 6,900-ton nuclear submarine San Francisco on the East Sea, [South’s] military had wanted [the drill] to be strongly promoted to firmly pressure the North, but a U.S. official from the combined forces command dissuaded [such move],” said an official from the military.
By Jeong Yong-soo [firstname.lastname@example.org]