Anti-Sub Aircraft, Missile Defense on Seoul’s Wish List for Major US Arms SaleNovember 9, 2017
During Trump’s visit to South Korea, he convinced South Korean President Moon Jae-in to acquire advanced US weapons systems. Moon told reporters during a joint press conference between the two leaders that Seoul would buy cutting-edge US military assets – a purchase to the tune of “billions of dollars,” according to Trump.
The purchases, as always, have a political component. South Korean support of the significant US military presence in their country is at all-time lows, and Seoul has been seeking a paradigm where they would have greater military independence. They also wish to deal more with North Korea directly, as Pyongyang often ignores them in favor of the US.
Since 1954, the US has maintained operational control (OPCON) of South Korean forces during wartime, meaning in the case of war the US would be in charge of South Korean forces. General Richard Stilwell, who led US Forces Korea in the 1970s, called it “the most remarkable concession of sovereignty in the entire world.”