[EDITORIALS]Listen to the peopleMore opposition has erupted against Korea’s exclusive exercise of wartime operational command of its army. Following statements by former defense ministers, retired generals and intellectuals, 170 former senior diplomats and 25 top police members released statements opposing the government’s plan to regain wartime control. Some Christian communities have also been collecting people’s signatures on petitions to heighten public opinion against the plan. Former U.S. secretaries of defense and former commanders of the Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command also share the same opinion.
When former defense ministers released a statement against the transfer of wartime control, the government spoke ill of it, saying it was from people who did not know reality. However, statements opposing the transfer keep coming up. People who used to be high government officials have joined the trend. Even diplomats presented their opinion as a group, although their primary principle is to be prudent.
Do all these people not know reality either? Certainly, they do know reality. They are the witnesses of our national security. These people have “precious experience” that current administration members, particularly some core figures who used to be former student activists, have never had.
The opponents include a former vice commander of the Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command. It is clear who knows more about the defense system. Although the answer is obvious, the government is being stubborn.
The cooperation between the two countries will be in question after the combined forces command is dismantled.
John H. Tilelli, the former commander in chief of the Korea-U.S. combined forces, said it will be far more difficult for the two countries to work together in an emergency when the two countries are no longer closely connected like before.
But the Korean government claims separate commands will be more effective. It argues that Washington will keep providing intelligence to Korea, although this argument is groundless because of Washington’s refusal to sell high-altitude unmanned aerial reconnaissance planes, crucial equipment for the exclusive exercise of wartime command.
Despite all of this, the government keeps saying there is no problem in the handover of the wartime control. The government should listen to the people’s opinion. It should not rush in deciding the right timing of the transfer of wartime command.