MINISTER OF DEFENSE HAN MIN-GOO (THROUGH TRANSLATOR):
I proclaim my gratitude to the press corps. Today, Secretary Carter
and I have hosted the 47th Annual ROK-U.S. Security Conclave Meeting.
This meeting has been the fourth meeting this year that I have had with
Secretary Carter and it was a valuable time during which we looked back
on the fruits of the ROK-U.S. alliance since last year's SCM.
Secretary Carter and I have discussed in depth the direction of the
future development of the ROK-U.S. alliance and various security issues,
including the policy collaboration against North Korea's nuclear
threat, as well as defense cooperation in space and in cyberspace
discussed at the October Summit.
Through such consultation, the ROK and the United States have agreed on
the following alliance issues. First, Secretary Carter and I have
assessed that the close collaboration between the ROK and the United
States have an effective and successful deterrence of additional North
Korea complications, as well as a stable management of the situation
during North Korea's DMZ provocations in August, and having decided to
strenuous respond in a joint matter to any North Korean provocation
threat in the future based on a robust -- (inaudible) -- collaboration.
Second, Secretary Carter and I have approved the implementation guidance
on the concepts of the ROK-U.S. alliance comprehensive counter missile
operations (inaudible) content and pledge to mutually cooperate for
systematic implementation of the guidelines in order to prepare for the
-- with the escalating North Korean missile threat, such as the
advancement of North Korea's nuclear warhead militarization technology
and SLBM test launches.
To this end, we have decided to continue close consultations to develop
comprehensive alliance capabilities, including the Kill Chain and the
KDMD, which is interoperable within the alliance.
Third, ROK and the U.S. agreed to and signed the condition-based OPCON
transition plan, which has been developed jointly since last year's 46th
SEN, and decided to faithfully materialize its plan in order to ensure a
stable war-time OPCON transition at a proper time.
Fourth, Secretary Carter and I have shared common views on the gravity
of the transnational space and cyberspace threats in line with the
Under such common acknowledgement, the ROK and the United States have
decided to expand cooperation into space and cyberspace areas, which is
promoting cooperation in space defense through a tabletop exercise, and
strengthening the alliance capabilities that allows the alliance to
regularly respond to challenges in development space.
Additionally, the Republic of Korea and the United States have assessed
that the firm and combined defense posture is contributing effectively
to peace and stability in the north -- in the Korean Peninsula. And the
Northeast Asia region as well, as the deterrence of North Korean
provocations, the United States have reaffirmed its determined and firm
commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea, by continuously
strengthening the combined defense posture.
Through this means, the Republic of Korea and the United States have
achieved a meaningful result by reaffirming the iron-clad ROK-U.S.
alliance, and how it is expanding and deepening into a future-oriented,
comprehensive and strategic alliance for the military alliance.
Lastly, the Republic of Korea and the United States will closely
cooperation so that the Iraq-U.S. alliance continuously develop into a
comprehensive global alliance, which goes beyond the Korea Peninsula,
and contributes to regional and global peace as a linchpin of peace and
stability for the agencies in the region.
SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ASH CARTER: Thank you and good afternoon,
everyone. And Minister Han, thank you. And thank you also for your
hospitality, and for yesterday's very important meeting at the DMZ.
I was also delighted that both you and President Park, during her highly
successful visit last month in Washington. We in the Pentagon were
particularly honored that President Park took the time out from her busy
White House schedule to come to the Pentagon.
And now, I also want to say how greatly I respect and value the strong leadership and great friendship of Minister Han.
This is my third trip to this region as secretary, my fourth time
meeting with Minister Han. From President Obama to the U.S. Department
of Defense, our rebalance in the Asia-Pacific region remains a top
Today, we led, together, the 47th annual U.S.-Korea Security Consultative Meeting. Think about that -- 47th.
That's a reflection of our -- the length of the time that this alliance
has been, as Minister Han said, the linchpin of security in this region.
And over the years, circumstances may change, and technology may change,
but what doesn't change is our determination to move forward, our
partnership, to deter and respond to North Korean threats.
In this meeting, our alliance took a major step forward when we signed
the condition-based approach to the transition of wartime operational
control. That approach will ensure that the Republic of Korea forces
have the necessary defensive capabilities to address the North Korean
As Minister Han indicated, earlier we were able to report together, to
you today, a number of steps we took forward. Because the U.S.-ROK
alliance is always moving forward. We agreed to establish a new,
high-level defense technology strategy and cooperation group. It's a
very broad agenda to deepen defense technology engagement, as defense
trade fits within our foreign policy and our national security strategy.
This will be an important forum for us to cooperate and exchange
information across a broad range of programs and technology. We also
spoke, candidly, today about North Korean threats -- nuclear weapons,
ballistic missiles, cyber, conventional military threats.
Those threats continue to put at risk the peace and security of the
Peninsula, the region, and the United States. And that's why we are
committed to creating the Deterrence Strategy Committee, to leverage the
full range of alliance capabilities, so that we can more effectively
deter and if necessary, defend against or respond to those threats.
As I said at Shangri-La in May, the United States' purpose is to
strengthen the Asia-Pacific security architecture so that all nations in
the region can continue to rise, and prosper and win.
And that's a reason why a trilateral defense relationship between the United States, Korea and Japan is also very important.
I know that President Park recently met with Prime Minister Abe, and
also with Prime Minister Li of China. And I commend her for her
leadership in that regard.
Let me close by noting that yesterday, I visited the DMZ. Last time I
was here, I visited the Cheonan Memorial. Both are stark reminders that
North Korea is an up close, dangerous, and continuing threat to the
security of the Peninsula and the region.
But together, we will meet that threat. Together, we will stay ready to
fight tonight and we will ensure that the strength of our alliance
remains iron clad and we will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder
here in the Republic of Korea.
(inaudible). … minister, I appreciate your hospitality and -- (inaudible).
MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, we'd like to change the order of the
questions and we'll follow from Korean press, U.S. press, Korean press,
then the U.S. press, and if we have time, we'll take a question from
Q (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): I'm from the Yonhap News, I have three
questions, first of which will be addressed by both Secretary Carter and
Minister Han. My first question relates to the South China Sea. The
United States is continuing to ask for a more active role in the
Republic of Korea -- (inaudible) -- the South China Sea. I'd like to
hear what your stance is on that matter.
My second question relates to Japan and their right -- their claimed
right to collective self defense. There has been a difference in
opinion between the Korean government and the Japanese government on
this issue. The Korean government claims that by its constitution, the
entirety of the Korean peninsula falls under sovereign territory.
Japan, however, only acknowledges the territory below the military
demarcation line as a Korean territory. I'd like to hear what the
United States stance on this issue is.
My final question is address to Minister Han. The last CM I believe it
was in December of last year, you have a -- we -- have decide to conduct
bilateral military information sharing, and on this XCM, I believe you
have discussed matters that build upon this agreement. And I'd like to
hear from Minister Han as to what his way forward is in terms of
promoting such military information sharing in a more active manner.
MIN. HAN (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): So that's two questions for each of us.
I'll answer first, Mr. Secretary, to give you a little more prep time
for your questions.
Firstly, concerning the South China Sea, this is a maritime route that
is very important to us and our interests, because 30 percent of our
exports go through these routes, 90 percent of import and energy also
goes through these routes and it is our stance that the freedom and
navigation and the freedom of flight should be ensured in this area.
And in terms of any conflict that is (to rouse in the South China Sea,
it is our standpoint that they should be resolved within the framework
of international law.
And we have on many occasions and in many multilateral dialogue
platforms have asked to refrain from any action that -- that threatens
the peace and stability of this area. We also -- it is also our stance
that any action or any conflict should be resolved within already
established agreements, like the declaration of conduct, DOC. We also
implore and we hope for the early agreement -- early settlement and
agreement of the code of conduct, the COC.
Concerning the second question of information sharing. During this
year's FCN, we have discussed and assessed many promises that have been
made since that agreement came into effect and -- (inaudible) --
agreement last year. And more specifically, we have mentioned on many
occasions that earlier this year, we had actually utilized the agreement
on two separate occasions to actually share military information
between our U.S. friends and the government in Japan.
Through this SCM, we have also discussed ways to enhance the systematic
groundwork so that we may use this agreement and utilize this agreement
in a more effective manner.
SEC. CARTER: Thank you, Mr. Minister. Well, with respect to the South
China Sea, I think the minister summarized quite well not only ROK
principles for issues in the South China Sea, but ones that are widely
shared, including by the United States. And just to give you the U.S.
position, we too do not take sides in territorial disputes, but we do
staunchly stand on the side of resolving them peacefully and freedom of
navigation for the reasons the minister indicated, and also the
important principle that these -- that there not be any further dredging
or militarization in the South China Sea.
That is something that the United States called for a halt on by all
parties in the South China Sea, and of course, over the last year, the
party that's done the most with that kind of that kind of dredging and
military activity has been China and there -- that is why it was
important -- particularly important that President Xi indicated when he
was in Washington that China intended to halt militarization. He called
on all parties to do that.
For the very reason indicated by the Minister it is a vital life line we
all depend, and especially north east Asia, Korea, Japan and China.
And the last thing I'll say is not only that the Republic of Korea, but
many countries in the region are concerned about developments in the
South China Sea and that is why so many countries in the region are
seeking -- now just speaking for the United States, greater partnership
with us in the areas of maritime security.
Now, U.S. -- (inaudible) -- long standing commitment to work together in
the areas of maritime security, we have an alliance that's focused on
the Korean Peninsula, but there's also a global scope as we have
demonstrated on a number of occasions in recent years.
With respect to Japan, I'll just say this, still speaking for the United
States. We have important alliances with both Japan and the Republic
of Korea and both of those alliances are based on international law,
improving respect for the full sovereignty of all countries. And so we
believe that any issues that arise in connection with the North Korean
provocations can be handled in the context of our two alliances.
MODERATOR: Question Bob Burns from the AP.
Q: Thank you. You'll be happy to hear that I just have one question -- (inaudible).
SEC. CARTER: But it has three parts.
Q: Mr. Secretary, you said a minute ago that you have agreed to a
conditions-based approach to transferring war time control to the South
Did you do it -- did you agree on the specific conditions in it – and if
so, what are they? And may I also pose a question to Minister Han at
the same time, on the same subject?
SEC. CARTER: Sure.
Q: Sir --
Q: Oh, I'm sorry.
Q: Sir, Minister Han, the question is, after more than 60 years of
working with the United States’ military, the United States’ government,
and having developed what is perhaps the most capable military in the
region, and one of the world's most powerful economies, with tremendous
industrial and technological accomplishments, why, after all this time
and effort, all these accomplishments in South Korea is not ready yet to
have control of these armed forces in war time?
SEC. CARTER: Let's see. The plan that we approved today does
specifically spell out in steps that will create the conditions for
successful transfer of OPCON. That's the purpose.
And just to name a couple -- (inaudible) -- analogy to fail, and just to
name a few principle ones, are the further development of command and
control, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities
in the ROK forces.
And secondly, another that is notable is counter artillery capabilities.
Now, I'm going to answer the question you asked Minister Han also, which
is why is it the ROK needs time to develop those capabilities -- it's
simply because, in the past, the United States would carry out the task,
because we have -- we were planning on having OPCON.
Now that the ROK will have OPCON, it needs some of the capabilities that
used to be done ahead by the United States only. So, it's developing
those capabilities, and that's why it takes a little bit of time to
reach the point of OPCON transition. And that's why we're taking the
time to get there in a way that, without the Republic of Korea fully
discharge those important responsibilities.
MIN. HAN (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Since Mr. Secretary, you've answered both questions, I think I'll answer both as well.
First, returning to OPCON transition. Last year, when we agreed that
the OPCON transition should be occurred on a condition basis, we've laid
out three conditions at that time.
And of course, Secretary Carter, your answer -- much -- some of the
conditions were laid out, but to give our conceptual explanation, the
first condition was that the Republic of Korea armed forces gain its key
It's second was that we gained response capabilities in the face of North Korean nuclear and missile threats.
And the third condition was concerning the assessment of the security
environment, not only on the Korean Peninsula, but also within the
And to your second question, which I believe was, you said, despite the
fact that Korea, over the past six decades, have enjoyed dramatic
progress in the realm of political, economical, and social and cultural
progress, the question of why Korea still fails to promote autonomous
self-defense -- I'll answer that question now.
As you have so keenly mentioned, it is true that Korea has enjoyed
dramatic progress in the aforementioned areas. But we also have
significant military capabilities and the will to promote further
However, if we look deeply into some global trends in terms of national
security, no -- any -- no country in the world can conduct -- many
countries in the world, excuse me, conduct its self defense in the form
of cooperation with regional and global partners.
And the reason we still do not conduct a solely unilateral self-defense
is that Korea has assessed that it is best for Korea that it continues
to promote its autonomous self-defense capabilities, while taking into
consideration the special geo-political considerations that surrounds
the Korean Peninsula, thereby maintaining alliances with key partners,
Q (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Two questions. First will be addressed to both
the secretary of defense and the minister of national defense, second
question will be designated directly to Secretary Carter.
The first question relates to the terminal…to the THAAD [Terminal High
Altitude Area Defense]. Lockheed Martin has recently changed its
statement regarding THAAD here in Korea. Secretary Carter, you
mentioned earlier this year that the United States is not in discussion
with any country regarding the deployment of THAAD. I'd like to know
during state discussions whether there was any discussion relating to
THAAD and if so, I'd like to know what the contents of that discussion
The second question is, considering the KF-X program, you've just
announced that you will be creating a working group. I was wondering,
within the framework of that working group whether it be for the
technologies that were denied transfer, including the AESA radar, can --
there any possibility of transfer of those technologies within that
working group or was there any possibility of cooperation also related
to those technologies?
MIN. HAN (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): I'll answer first. In this SCM, the
THAAD was not in the official agenda and was not discussed and we have
not made any agreements relating to THAAD.
SEC. CARTER: Ditto.
THAAD was not discussed today. And with respect to technology
cooperation, the important advance that the minister and I made today in
creating this new body is to make possible a wider range of cooperation
in defense technology and trade than the United States and the ROK have
had up to now. That's why it's a new, different, very high-level
group, and it's what should make possible cooperation in -- on lots of
(inaudible). You mentioned KF-X -- the United States is very supportive
of the KF-X program.
Our law limits certain technologies in the way that they can be shared
with the Republic of Korea and we -- this body isn't going to be able to
change U.S. laws, of course, but we will be working on technology
cooperation in a host of ways, including KF-X, wherever that is
Q (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Mr. Secretary, I have a follow up question for
the THAAD issue. Since it wasn't discussed, is there a possibility
looking at the next few years that THAAD could be brought -- could be
deployed to South Korea?
SEC. CARTER: The only thing I'd say to that is that it, like any new
capabilities, would be an alliance decision. So I can't speak for the
alliance. The introduction of any new capabilities would be an alliance
decision. So if there is an alliance decision to move forward with
THAAD or any other system in the future, obviously, would be an alliance
decision and the United States in context with the alliance would
support that, but it was not discussed today.
MODERATOR: It's time for the U.S. questions.
Q: Thank you very much. Yesterday, the leaders of South Korea, Japan
and China gave a statement for meaningful six-party talks on the North
Korea Situation. Both of you have mentioned recent threats by North
Korea to conduct other missile tests or nuclear tests. Is this the
right moment to be opening the door again to six-party talks? And has
there been in any shift form either of your governments in terms of the
pre-conditions that you've established for such talks?
And Mr. Carter, I want to quick call up, as you mentioned President Park
and President Abe are meeting this morning or have met already after
three years of considerable friction between Seoul and Tokyo. How
damaging (inaudible)-- your two best allies in north east Asia --
MIN. HAN (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): During the first question of the
six-party talks, the Korean government retains its stance that the
six-party talks can act as an effective platform to -- for
de-nuclearizing North Korea. But in terms of as to when we might
reinstate and restart six-party talks, or as to whether or not these
pre-conditions for restarting the six-party talks have been met, I, as
minister of national defense, in my capacity (inaudible) in answering
SEC. CARTER: With respect to our relations with both Japan and the
Republic of Korea, they are both essential and longstanding and very
close allies of the United States. So yes, we'd like to -- we, the
United States, would promote good cooperation between Japan and the ROK.
And for sure, there are legacy historical issues, and we recognize
that and we -- we hope that they are pursued and attempt to assist the
advancement of healing in those issues.
But there are very constructive contacts between the two countries --
the leaders of the two countries, including just recently, and I should
also say between the militaries of the two countries. And we are
pleased to also participate in trilateral discussions on security issues
in the region and around the world with Japan and the Republic of
Korea. I participated in such meetings, they've been very fruitful, and
so both bilaterally and trilaterally, there is -- there are ongoing
discussions in security (inaudible) potential to do much more.