News: "The top U.S. envoy [Ambassador Vershbow] here said Friday that the transition of wartime operational control of the South Korean military from the United States to Korean commanders should be completed by 2012 as planned. The remarks by U.S. Ambassador Alexander Vershbow came amid speculation that the two countries would renegotiate the timing of the wartime control transfer during the conservative Lee Myung-bak administration."
[Photo: Lee with Alexander Vershbow, U.S. Ambassador to South Korea, on Thursday.]
Commentary: This is a setback for Lee's Hannara (Grand National) Party. Perhaps the US is now playing a pragmatist and considers this issue as a liability within the context of negotiations for peace/security mechanisms in the Korean peninsula. If you think about it though, it would not really make sense for the would-be world's seventh largest economy (Lee's campaign promise to elevate South Korea's economy from the world's eleventh to seventh) to have its military commanded by a foreign general during wartime. Which country in the modern world still has that kind of arrangement? South Korea, with a great deal of advancement in democracy and economy, should not lag behind in independent diplomacy and national defense, especially with the backdrop of inter-Korea and regional trends towards reconciliation and rapproachement.