ROK-US Ministerial Talks

ROK-U.S. alliance

22 July: Republic of Korea(ROK) Minister of National Defense Jeong Kyeong-doo spoke with Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper to reaffirm the strength of the ROK-U.S. alliance and the close coordination between the defense authorities of the two countries.

The two leaders discussed the security environment on the Korean Peninsula and committed to continue supporting diplomatic efforts to achieve the complete denuclearization of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula. Both sides also pledged to continue to maintain the combined defense posture and readiness of the ROK-U.S. Alliance to address the dynamic security environment on the Peninsula.

Secretary Esper and Minister Jeong addressed a broad range of defense issues, including  Conditions-based OPCON Transition, Combined Training, and the Special Measures Agreement.

Crossing over a floating bridge in South Korea, Soldiers drive 68-ton M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tanks and 27-ton M2A3 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, across the Imjin River. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army)

The Secretary and the Minister expressed their unwavering support for a conditions-based OPCON transition, consistent with the bilaterally-agreed Conditions-Based OPCON Transition Plan (COTP), and reaffirmed their consistent commitment to ensuring each of the conditions outlined in the COTP is fully met before transitioning the CFC to the F-CFC.

In addition, Secretary Esper and Minister Jeong also affirmed the importance of the rules-based international order and joint responses to shared threats like the global COVID-19 pandemic.  The two leaders pledged their commitment to strengthen the bilateral relationship on the basis of shared values such as freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, while deepening the bilateral and multilateral cooperation for the continuing peace and stability of Northeast Asia.

Secretary Esper and Minister Jeong also committed to advance a number of bilateral defense issues at the Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) this fall.

Two Mega Watt Solar Power Plant Inaugurated at Naval Station Karanja, Uran

Two Mega Watt Solar Power Plant Inaugurated at Naval Station Karanja, Uran

Vice Admiral Ajit Kumar, PVSM, AVSM, VSM, ADC, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command, e-inaugurated the first Two Mega Watt Capacity Solar Power Plant of the Western Naval Command on 20 July 2020.

The Plant has been installed at Naval Station Karanja and is one of the largest solar plants in the region. The Solar Plant comprises of 100% indigenously developed solar panels, tracking tables and inverters. The plant is grid interconnected utilising the state of art single axis sun tracking technology with computerised monitoring & control.

The project is a significant step by the Indian Navy towards harnessing Solar energy and the use of a renewable source of energy for meeting the power supply requirement of the Naval Station.

Potential Training Location for the F-35

F-35: Photo Lockheed Martin

The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) expects to take delivery of the four F-35 fighter aircraft in 2026.  The aircraft will be deployed in the continental US for training and in-depth evaluation, and discussions on possible training locations are ongoing with the Department of Defense.  Overseas training allows the SAF to overcome local airspace constraints and to conduct high-end realistic training. The Ministry of Defence and the SAF will carefully evaluate the options to ensure that the eventual location can meet our needs.

Arkansas senator Tom Cotton said in a statement July 20, that Fort Smith Airport in Indiana has been selected as one of five possible sites to host the RSAF’s F-16 and F-35 aircraft.

Besides Fort Smith Airport, other sites that have been shortlisted including, Hulman Field, Buckley AFB in Colorado, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas, and Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Michigan.

“Fort Smith is a strong candidate for Singapore’s F-16 squadron and future F-35 aircraft,” Senator Cotton said.

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