SEOUL, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) Chairman Gen. Park Han-ki on Friday reiterated his pledge to “systematically and actively” push for defense reform and the transfer of wartime operational control (OPCON).

In his opening remarks during a parliamentary audit, Park also stressed that he will strive to enforce the recent inter-Korean military agreement aimed at reducing tensions, preventing accidental clashes and building mutual trust.

“While keeping the South Korea-U.S. alliance’s capabilities and posture even stronger through close bilateral coordination and cooperation, we will focus our energy on systematically and actively pursuing the Defense Reform 2.0 Initiative and the OPCON handover,” he said.

The reform initiative seeks to make the country’s military smaller yet smarter by reducing redundant staff while incorporating cutting-edge technologies such as drones and robots to enhance readiness and combat capabilities.

Seoul and Washington have been pushing for the conditions-based OPCON transfer in light of the South’s overall military capabilities and the North’s security threats.

Touching on the inter-Korean military agreement, Park pledged to back up Seoul’s policy efforts for lasting peace and co-prosperity on the peninsula.

The agreement fleshed out the April summit accord between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, which called for joint efforts to halt all hostile acts against each other and practically eliminate the danger of war.

It includes withdrawing some border guard posts on a trial basis, disarming the Joint Security Area in the Demilitarized Zone and setting up ground, maritime and air buffer zones to prevent unintended clashes.

Source: Yonhap News Agency