Release
Immediate Release

Readout of the Defense Ministerial Meeting between the Republic of Korea and the United States

June 3, 2019

Department of Defense Spokesman Lt. Col. Dave Eastburn provided the following readout:

Republic of Korea (ROK) Minister of National Defense Jeong Kyeong-doo and the U.S. Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan held a ROK-U.S. Defense Ministerial meeting on June 3, 2019, in Seoul and discussed ROK-U.S. coordination measures, the security situation on the Korean Peninsula, and key ROK-U.S. Alliance issues.

Minister Jeong and Secretary Shanahan shared their recent assessments of the security environment on the Korean Peninsula and reaffirmed their commitment to support the two countries’ diplomatic efforts to achieve complete denuclearization and peace on the Korean peninsula. Noting the mutual concern regarding the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) launches of short-range missiles, the two sides also committed to strengthen close coordination and cooperation in a diverse range of areas, including information sharing on the DPRK nuclear and missile activities.

Minister Jeong and Secretary Shanahan assessed that the spring 2019 DONGMAENG exercise contributed to the maintenance of the robust combined defense posture while supporting the ongoing diplomatic efforts.  The Minister and Secretary agreed to conclude the Freedom Guardian exercise series and pledged to strengthen communication and cooperation for a revised combined training program this fall.

Minister Jeong and Secretary Shanahan noted the significant strides made towards the fulfillment of conditions for the transition of wartime Operational Control (OPCON) and noted that they look forward to the results of this fall’s future Combined Forces Command (CFC) Headquarters Initial Operational Capability (IOC) certification.

The two sides also shared the understanding that the OPCON transition must make the ROK-U.S. Alliance stronger and approved a recommendation from responsible ROK-U.S. authorities to appoint as the CFC commander a ROK four-star general or an admiral who is not also the ROK Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Following their review, Minister Jeong and Secretary Shanahan approved the relocation of the CFC Headquarters to Camp Humphreys, and concurred that this action would improve the operational effectiveness and combined defense posture of the CFC.  The two sides pledged to work closely together during the CFC headquarters relocation to Camp Humphreys to ensure the readiness of the ROK-U.S. CFC and to ensure smooth implementation of the Yongsan Park project pursued by the ROK Government.  The Minister and Secretary agreed to support matters related to the CFC Headquarters relocation to Camp Humphreys through existing ROK-U.S. joint working groups.

Minister Jeong and Secretary Shanahan affirmed the importance of continued close coordination in achieving denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula, and pledged to maintain close communication at the ministerial level.