During a South Korea-US summit meeting held on June 26, 2010, however, the South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and the US President Barack Obama agreed to adjust the timeline for the handover of wartime OPCON from April 17, 2012 to December 1, 2015 given the increasingly uncertain and volatile security situation on the Korean Peninsula.
North Korean Reaction to the Delay of OPCON Transfer: On July 1, 2010, the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland (CPRF) spokesman issued a statement decrying the postponement of the OPCON transfer – which appears to be the first of the North Korean reaction to the announcement of the OPCON transfer postponement. As of the date of this posting, there have been seven other North Korean media reports criticizing the postponement since the CPRF statement.
The CPRF statement and the subsequent North Korean media reports uniformly condemned the South Korean President Lee Myung-bak for “begging” the US to postpone the transfer of wartime OPCON.
- “The traitor Lee Myung-bak, who went on a junket to Canada not long ago, met with Obama and played the game of begging and agreeing on the postponement of the wartime operational control [OPCON] transfer until 2015, while talking about the so-called changes in the security environment.” (The Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland Statement, 01 July 2010)
- “The South Korean conservative group persistently begged for the extension of OPCON of their own accord and, accordingly, the U.S. has got justification to strengthen its policy for military occupation and colonial rule over South Korea. Needless to say, the U.S., which pretended to reluctantly accept such request, will demand the high price for it. This resulted in putting the people of South Korea under heavier yoke of domination and subjugation by the U.S.” (Rodong Sinmun, 07 July 2010)
- “Traitor Lee Myung-bak of South Korea recently begged its American master to postpone "the transfer of wartime operation control (OPCON)" till 2015. This is a sordid act of sycophancy and treachery which can be committed only by a poor pro-U.S. stooge who stakes his life on the U.S. and a revelation of an unpardonable traitorous scenario to ignite a war of aggression against the DPRK at any cost with the backing of outside forces.” (KCNA, 13 July 2010)
- “The CPRF brands the game of postponing the wartime OPCON transfer, which has been realized as a result of the conspiracy and collusion between the United States and the puppet gang, as an extremely grave provocation to drive the currently very dangerous situation to more serious extremes and to unhesitatingly wage an all-out war against us, and sternly denounces and condemns it in the name of the entire nation.” (The Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland Statement, 01 July 2010)
- “The U.S. extension of the OPCON under the pretext of the warship case made it possible for it to strengthen its military domination over South Korea and put its conservative ruling forces under a tighter control in a bid to effectively use them as a shock brigade for implementing its policy for invading the DPRK.” (Rodong Sinmun, 13 July 2010)
North Korean media’s Previous Portrayals of ROK-US OPCON transfer as a “smoke screen” for a future attack on North Korea:
- “The commander of the U.S. forces in south Korea made reckless remarks only to give the lie to the U.S. move for "transfer of the right to command wartime operations" to South Korea and disclose the sinister ambition for the aggression on the DPRK.” (KCNA, 09 February 2010)
- “It is the unchanging strategic design of the United States to cling more tightly to South Korea militarily, provoke another Korean war using it as a steppingstone, and going one step further, realize its wild ambition for achieving military domination over Asia.” (Roodong Sinmun, 09 February 2010)
- “In recent years alone, the US military forces have been turning the US imperialist forces of aggression forcibly occupying South Korea into the armed forces for mounting a preemptive attack centered on the navy and the air force equipped with far greater mobility and striking power, while blabbering about some kind of "strategic flexibility" and "return of wartime operational control," and they are cooking up new scenarios for a war of northward aggression reflecting a strategy for launching a preemptive nuclear attack and using this as a basis to more adventurously stage joint military exercises with the South Korean puppets.” (Rodong Sinmun, 07 March 2009)
- “The US imperialist warmongers currently regard the transfer of ‘wartime operational control’ to the puppet forces, which is to take place in 2012, as an occasion to perfect the operational system of preemptive attack, and attempt to reduce ground troops and equipment and shift the focus on the naval and forces, a system of preemptive attack.” (Rodong Sinmun, 27 November 2008)
- “The United States is attempting to pull the trigger of a new war on the Korean peninsula at any cost by turning the South Korean puppet forces into an autonomous force of war on the pretext of the ‘transfer of wartime operational control.’” (Rodong Sinmun, 16 September 2008)
North Korean Media’s Past Claims that the US will use the ROK as a ‘shock brigade’:
- “The U.S. seeks to turn its forces in South Korea into a task force capable of conducting military actions for aggression in vaster areas, not just the regional forces tasked with carrying out limited military duty in limited areas, and use the South Korean army as a shock brigade.” (KCNA, 09 February 2010)
- “The United States has been preparing US forces occupying South Korea as rapid mobile forces to make them carry out aggressive military actions in broader areas, not as a regional force that discharges its limited military duty in restricted areas, and use the South Korean forces as a shock brigade. The game of playing with the "transfer of wartime operational control" is a dangerous military move that seeks this very goal.” (Rodong Sinmun, 09 February 2010)
- “The US imperialists' maneuvers for pressing forward the "handover of wartime operational control" also serve the purpose of subordinating the puppet armed forces to the US imperialists more thoroughly and using them as a shock brigade in a war of northward aggression.” (Minju Joson, 24 June 2009)
- “If another Korean war breaks out, they will push forward the South Korean puppet forces as a shock brigade and [the US Forces] will use the method verified through Iraq and Afghanistan wars; [they] will attempt to easily achieve the purpose of northward aggression while reducing a force loss to the maximum by mobilizing the naval and air forces' state-of-the-art attack weapons.” (Rodong Sinmun, 27 November 2008)
- “The United States is attempting to pull the trigger of a new war on the Korean peninsula at any cost by turning the South Korean puppet forces into an autonomous force of war on the pretext of the ‘transfer of wartime operational control’ and by using them as a shock brigade, while enhancing the mobility and attack capability of the US imperialist forces of aggression occupying South Korea.” (Rodong Sinmun, 16 September 2008)
The North Korean media characterization of the OPCON transfer postponement is consistent with the past North Korean media portrayals of the pending ROK-US OPCON transfer. The North Korean media has in the past portrayed the OPCON transfer as a “smoke screen” for a future attack on North Korea, claiming that the US will use the ROK forces as a “shock brigade” to facilitate its strategy to build up forces and equipment on the Korean Peninsula in preparations for war. Consistent this logic, the North Korean media claims the postponement of the OPCON transfer will provide the US an opportunity to strengthen its military presence on the Korean Peninsula so that it may “unhesitatingly wage an all-out war” against North Korea.