The transfer wartime operational control from Washington to Seoul topped the agenda of talks between Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin and U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel at the ongoing Asia Security Summit, Shangri-La Dialogue, in Singapore over the weekend.
"Korea and the U.S have agreed to set the date and conditions for the transfer by the annual Security Consultative Meeting in October. We have been conducting numerous working level talks and are scheduled to hold several more rounds of talks."
Experts say the transfer is likely to be pushed back five to seven years and will take place in early 2020.
That's the time when Korea's Air and Missile Defense system, which could counter missiles and nuclear weapons from Pyongyang, is scheduled to be implemented.
The question of whether the U.S.-led missile defense system will be implemented in Korea was not discussed during the meeting.
Korea's Defense Ministry says there were no opposing views on Korea setting up its own missile defense system.
"As we've said in the past, we will establish our own missile defense system while enhancing interoperability with the U.S. Japan will not be included in our plan."
In related news, Kim said that Japan could exercise its collective self-defense outside the theater of South Korea's operations, a thinly veiled warning that Japanese self-defense forces will not be admitted to South Korea unless requested by Seoul.
Kim Hyun-bin, Arirang News.
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