Chinanews, August 16 (Liu Cong) Each August, South Korea and the United States hold joint summer military exercises. In the context of the global pandemic of the new crown epidemic, the Korean-US joint military exercise in 2020 has "shrunk". However, this exercise may have one special feature: to assess whether the Korean army has "full combat capability" in order to "pave the way" for South Korea to regain its wartime combat command.
North Korea has always firmly opposed and condemned the joint military exercise between South Korea and the United States. Since the beginning of this year, the relations between North Korea and South Korea and between North Korea and the United States have deteriorated. How will this military exercise affect the situation on the Korean Peninsula?
Data map: On April 2, 2017, local time, in Pohang City, South Korea, the South Korean Navy participated in the South Korean-US joint military exercise "Harrier Eagle" landing exercise.
Under the new crown epidemic, South Korea and the United States reduce the scale of military exercises
Keep ready for battle
The joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States generally start in March of the year and the summer joint military exercises in August. However, due to the outbreak of the new crown epidemic in South Korea at the end of February, the South Korean and US military announced that the original plan was postponed. The exercise held in March is actually equivalent to cancellation. Therefore, the summer joint military exercise between the two countries has attracted special attention.
Because a large number of US soldiers were unable to go to Korea during the epidemic, the military exercise was postponed from early August to mid-August, and the scale and format were adjusted accordingly.
Exercise time-August 16 to August 28, only during the day, rest at night, the usual ten-day exercise time increased by 2 to 3 days.
The scale of the exercise is reduced compared to previous years, and there will be no enlistment of American troops.
Exercise form-Command post exercise (CPX) is mainly conducted by computer simulation.
Data map: The South Korean Navy participated in the South Korean-US joint military exercise "Harrier Eagle" landing exercise.
"Objectively speaking, the cancellation of the spring military exercise is mainly due to the epidemic." Yang Xiyu, a researcher at the China Institute of International Studies, told a reporter from Chinanews.com. The reason why the joint military exercise is still held in the summer is mainly due to institutional arrangements and the situation on the Korean Peninsula. Two reasons.
"This is a prescriptive and institutional exercise for South Korea and the United States to maintain a fighting state. There is no special reason and generally will not be cancelled." Yang Xiyu said, "At the same time, the current situation on the Korean Peninsula makes South Korea and the United States believe that there is a strengthening of the joint force. It is necessary to perform the performance to maintain and improve the state of preparation for battle."
Wang Sheng, a professor in the Department of International Politics at the School of Administration of Jilin University and a visiting scholar at Korea University's Asia Research Institute, believes that insisting on holding this routine military exercise is a continuing pressure from the United States on North Korea and hopes that North Korea can return to the negotiating table.
Data map: The US military in South Korea participates in a skill competition.
Promote the recovery of wartime combat command
South Korea wants to strengthen its diplomatic and military autonomy?
For South Korea, this joint military exercise is of great significance-to prepare for the future recovery of command of wartime operations.
Since the early 1950s, the command of the South Korean army has long been held by the US troops stationed in South Korea. In 1994, South Korea regained its military command in peacetime, but did not regain its wartime combat command. In October 2014, the United States and South Korea agreed to postpone the time for the handover of wartime combat command from the originally scheduled 2015 to after 2020. During Moon Jae-in’s campaign for South Korea’s president, he promised to withdraw his wartime command during his term.
South Korea’s plan to regain wartime operational command from the United States includes a three-stage evaluation. The first evaluation has been completed in 2019. Many people hope to complete the second evaluation during the military exercise in August 2020 and the third phase in 2021. It is estimated that in this way, Han will be expected to regain the command of wartime operations in 2022.
This exercise will focus on assessing whether the Korean army has "full combat capability" in order to regain its command of wartime operations. During the assessment, it will be checked whether the South Korean army has the ability to exercise combat command rights, the deployment of additional US forces in the event of an incident on the Korean Peninsula, and whether the Korean army can quickly deploy these forces to the theater.
Data map: South Korean army soldiers marching on a truck.
Wang Sheng analyzed that South Korea hopes to withdraw its wartime combat command as soon as possible by improving its military capabilities. "South Korea may think that wartime command power is an important factor in resolving the Korean Peninsula issue. At the same time, South Korea also wants to increase its own diplomatic and military autonomy." After South Korea regains wartime combat command power, "the South Korean-US alliance may not It will be as close as before. With regard to the Korean Peninsula issue, South Korea can play a more obvious role than before."
Yang Xiyu also stated, "When the wartime operational command is fully returned to South Korea, the stability of the military relations between North Korea and South Korea will increase, and the risk of military conflict will also decrease."
However, some reports pointed out that the US military has adopted a negative attitude towards the assessment work on the grounds that it is difficult to deploy troops and the scale of exercises has shrunk during the epidemic. In view of the possibility of completing a full combat capability assessment in 2020, South Korea's plan to withdraw wartime combat command may be postponed.
In this regard, Yang Xiyu analyzed, “Even if the United States is unwilling now, it will not publicly state that it will not transfer or postpone the transfer. However, if the transfer is affected by the Korean military’s own technical and domestic political problems, the United States may take this to comply with itself. the meaning of."
Data map: On March 7, 2016 local time, South Koreans held an anti-war rally in front of the US Embassy in South Korea to protest the "Key Determination" and "Vulture" joint military exercises held by South Korea and the United States.
Expert: North Korea's official attitude still needs to be observed
Or "following changes in the U.S."
“The joint military exercise between South Korea and the United States will bring the relationship between North Korea and South Korea into a deadlock and aggravate the war crisis on the Korean Peninsula.” A few days before the start of the military exercise, South Korean citizens organized a rally to protest in Busan.
North Korea has always resolutely opposed and condemned the joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States, believing that they are provocations and preparations for the invasion of North Korea.
However, a reporter from Chinanews.com found that in previous years before and after the South Korean-US joint military exercise, the North Korean official media KCNA publicly issued a statement condemning it, but this year, as of the day before the military exercise, KCNA has not expressed its position. Not only military exercises, some Korean media analysis pointed out that since the end of June, North Korea has ceased all condemnation of South Korea after North Korea announced that it would retain its military action plan against South Korea.
Wang Sheng believes that North Korea has not yet condemned before the military exercise, which may be related to the adjustment of the scale of the exercise and the weakening of the target. On the other hand, North Korea may be "changing with changes in the United States."
Yang Xiyu pointed out, "The fact that North Korea has not taken any action at the moment does not mean that it will not take any action. I am afraid that it needs to be observed for a while, and perhaps the North Korean side will respond."
On June 16, 2020 local time, the South Korean Unification Ministry confirmed that the inter-Korean liaison office in the Kaesong Industrial Park in North Korea was blasted.
Military exercises may increase the uncertainty of the situation on the peninsula
How to control South Korea and the United States is the key
Since 2020, the situation on the Korean Peninsula has deteriorated. In early June, North Korea criticized "North Korean defectors" for distributing anti-North Korea leaflets from South Korea to North Korea, and subsequently cut off the line of communication between the DPRK and South Korea and bombed the inter-Korean liaison office. Will the joint military exercise between South Korea and the United States intensify the uncertainty of the situation on the peninsula?
"North Korea has always adopted a late-coming strategy in the inter-Korean relations and the stalemate between North Korea and the United States." Yang Xiyu analyzed,
Generally speaking, the joint exercises between South Korea and the United States will indeed increase the uncertainty of the situation on the peninsula, but the impact on the overall situation is limited.
Wang Sheng pointed out that during the joint military exercise, if South Korea and the United States did not make some excessive actions to stimulate North Korea, from the current point of view, the exercise will not have an excessive impact and stimulation on the situation on the Korean Peninsula. But the key is to control Han Mei.
He believes that the ROK-US joint military exercise has not played a greater positive role in the situation on the peninsula and in resolving the Korean nuclear issue. All parties in Northeast Asia should also do more and should not let the negative factors on the peninsula heat up or intensify. (Finish)