Fri. Oct 30th, 2020

SEOUL, Oct. 8 (Yonhap) — The military chiefs of South Korea and the United States will hold their annual talks via videoconference next week to discuss regional security and alliance issues, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said Thursday.

The 45th Military Committee Meeting (MCM) between JCS Chairman Gen. Won In-choul and his U.S. counterpart, Gen. Mark Milley, is scheduled for Tuesday, the JCS said in a parliamentary audit report.

The MCM is held every year, usually a day before the defense ministers of the two countries hold the Security Consultative Meeting (SCM). This year’s SCM is slated to be held in Washington on Wednesday next week, but the two sides decided to hold MCM talks by a video call.

The decision came as top American military leaders are in quarantine, with Milley reportedly among them, after coming into contact with U.S. Coast Guard’s vice commandant, Adm. Charles Ray, who tested positive for the new coronavirus earlier this week.

The previous MCM session was hosted by South Korea.

During the upcoming meeting, the two sides plan to assess the security situation on the Korean Peninsula and the Northeast Asia region, as well as their military readiness posture, the JCS said.

Also on the table is the transfer of wartime operational control (OPCON) of South Korean forces from Washington to Seoul.

The Seoul government seeks to retake the wartime OPCON before the current Moon Jae-in administration’s term ends in May 2022, though the transition is not time-based but conditions-based.

The JCS has said it will accelerate the push to retake the OPCON based on strong alliance with the U.S.

By Bureau