Several upcoming events in the U.S. will discuss whether handing over full control of Korean troops to Seoul and disbanding the Combined Forces Command in the planned timeframe by 2012 is a good idea.
The Asia Foundation's Center for U.S.-Korea Policy will host a conference on the issue in Washington on Thursday with conservative heavyweights including Michael O'Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, Prof. Bruce Bechtol of the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, Patrick Cronin, a senior advisor at the Center for a New American Security, Prof. Kim Sung-han of Korea University, and Grand National Party lawmaker Hwang Jin-ha.
O'Hanlon wrote an article about the matter for the Los Angeles Times headlined "Divide, and Be Conquered" early this month and is expected to call for a delay or reconsideration of the plan.
Larry Niksch, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, will give a lecture on the issue at KORUS House of the Korean Embassy in Washington on Wednesday. Niksch, who has been studying Korean affairs for 43 years at the Congressional Research Service, is expected to stress the need for thorough preparations for the handover and warn of contingencies.
Scott Snyder, the director of the Asia Foundation's Center for U.S.-Korea Policy, said the conference came about because there has been no debate in the U.S. over the troop control transfer although only two years are left till the deadline, while in Korea debate has been heated.