박근혜 대통령은 7일(현지시간) 오바마 대통령과 정상회담 및 오찬 회담을 갖은 뒤, 공동 회견을 통해 양국 간 공조 방안 등 합의 사항을 밝혔다.
두 정상의 발언 내용의 행간을 읽으며 가장 주시했던 부분은 전작권 전환문제였다.
박근혜 대통령은 “내가 제시한 ‘한반도 신뢰 프로세스’ 이행을 비롯한 다각적 노력을 통해 북한이 올바른 선택을 하도록 韓美 양국이 공동으로 노력키로 했다'고 말했다.
전작권의 전환 문제는 韓美연합사의 존속 문제와 직결되어 있기 때문에 오바마 대통령의 발언은 연합사의 해체도 예정대로 이뤄질 것이라는 입장을 밝힌 것으로 해석할 수 있다.
앞서 김장수 청와대 국가안보실장 지난 2월 전작권 문제와 관련해 “남북 간 심각한 충돌 상황 등 중대한 도발 사태가 발생하거나 우리 군의 준비가 현저히 부족한 상황이 아니면 예정대로 이양을 추진해야 한다”(조선닷컴 2013년 2월14일자 보도)는 입장을 밝힌바 있다.
김관진 국방장관도 지난 4월22일 국회 국방위 전체회의에 출석해 전작권 전환 문제에 대해 “현재까지 국방부 입장은 韓美 합의대로 추진하는 것”이라고 밝혔다.
반면 버웰 벨 前 韓美연합사 사령관은 지난 4월20일 ‘미국의 소리(VOA)’ 방송에 보낸 공식 성명을 통해 “한국군으로의 전시작전통제권 전환 작업을 중지해야 한다”는 입장을 밝혔다.
VOA에 따르면 벨 前 사령관은 자필 서명이 들어간 성명을 통해 韓美 양국은 전작권 이양 논의를 영구적으로 미뤄야 한다고 말했다.
노무현 정권시절 전작권 전환을 주도했던 벨 前 사령관은 “한국 군 전력이 북한에 비해 훨씬 우수하지만, 북한이 핵무장을 한 이상 한국은 앞으로 북한과의 전투나 협상에서 심각하게 불리한 위치에 처할 수밖에 없게 됐다”고 설명했다.
벨 前 사령관은 이어 “핵무기로 미국과 한국을 위협하고 있는 북한을 공세적으로 억제할 필요성이 커졌으며, 그 과정을 미국이 주도해야 한다”고 조언했다. 벨 前 사령관의 지적대로 그동안 전작권 전환문제는 북한이 핵무기를 보유하지 않은 상황을 가정해 진행되어 왔다.
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
Remarks by President Obama and President Park of South Korea in a Joint Press Conference
1:44 P.M. EDT
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good afternoon, everybody. Please have a seat.
Let me begin by saying it is a great pleasure to welcome President Park and our friends from the Republic of Korea. Madam President, we are greatly honored that you’ve chosen the United States as your first foreign visit. This, of course, reflects the deep friendship between our peoples and the great alliance between our nations, which is marking another milestone. I’m told that in Korea, a 60th birthday is a special celebration of life and longevity -- a hwangap. (Laughter.) Well, this year, we’re marking the 60th anniversary of the defense treaty between our nations.
Yesterday, President Park visited Arlington National Cemetery and our memorial to our Korean War veterans. Tonight, she’s hosting a dinner to pay tribute to the generation of American veterans who have served in the defense of South Korea. And tomorrow she’ll address a joint session of Congress -- an honor that is reserved for our closest of friends.
And in this sense, this visit also reflects South Korea’s extraordinary progress over these six decades. From the ashes of war, to one of the world’s largest economies from a recipient of foreign aid to a donor that now helps other nations develop. And of course, around the world, people are being swept up by Korean culture -- the Korean Wave. And as I mentioned to President Park, my daughters have taught me a pretty good Gangnam Style. (Laughter.)
President Park, in your first months in office South Korea has faced threats and provocations that would test any nation. Yet you’ve displayed calm and steady resolve that has defined your life. Like people around the world, those of us in the United States have also been inspired by your example as the first female President of South Korea. And today I’ve come to appreciate the leadership qualities for which you are known -- your focus and discipline and straight-forwardness. And I very much thank you for the progress that we’ve already made together.
Today, we agreed to continue the implementation of our historic trade agreement, which is already yielding benefits for both our countries. On our side, we’re selling more exports to Korea -- more manufactured goods, more services, more agricultural products. Even as we have a long way to go, our automobile exports are up nearly 50 percent, and our Big Three -- Ford, Chrysler and GM -- are selling more cars in Korea. And as President Park and I agreed to make sure that we continue to fully implement this agreement, we believe that it’s going to make both of our economies more competitive. It will boost U.S. exports by some $10 billion and support tens of thousands of American jobs. And obviously it will be creating jobs in Korea as they are able to continue to do extraordinary work in expanding their economy and moving it further and further up the value chain.
We agreed to continue the clean energy partnerships that help us to enhance our energy security and address climate change. Given the importance of a peaceful nuclear energy industry to South Korea, we recently agreed to extend the existing civilian nuclear agreement between our two countries -- but we also emphasized in our discussions the need to continue to work diligently towards a new agreement. As I told the President, I believe that we can find a way to support South Korea’s energy and commercial needs even as we uphold our mutual commitments to prevent nuclear proliferation.
We agreed to continuing modernizing our security alliance. Guided by our joint vision, we’re investing in the shared capabilities and technologies and missile defenses that allow our forces to operate and succeed together. We are on track for South Korea to assume operational control for the alliance in 2015. And we’re determined to be fully prepared for any challenge or threat to our security. And obviously that includes the threat from North Korea.
If Pyongyang thought its recent threats would drive a wedge between South Korea and the United States, or somehow garner the North international respect, today is further evidence that North Korea has failed again. President Park and South Koreans have stood firm, with confidence and resolve. The United States and the Republic of Korea are as united as ever. And faced with new international sanctions, North Korea is more isolated than ever. In short, the days when North Korea could create a crisis and elicit concessions -- those days are over.
Our two nations are prepared to engage with North Korea diplomatically and, over time, build trust. But as always -- and as President Park has made clear -- the burden is on Pyongyang to take meaningful steps to abide by its commitments and obligations, particularly the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
And we discussed that Pyongyang should take notice of events in countries like Burma, which, as it reforms, is seeing more trade and investment and diplomatic ties with the world, including the United States and South Korea.
For our part, we’ll continue to coordinate closely with South Korea and with Japan. And I want to make clear the United States is fully prepared and capable of defending ourselves and our allies with the full range of capabilities available, including the deterrence provided by our conventional and nuclear forces. As I said in Seoul last year, the commitment of the United States to the security of the Republic of Korea will never waver.
More broadly, we agreed to continue expanding our cooperation globally. In Afghanistan -- where our troops serve together and where South Korea is a major donor of development assistance -- we’re on track to complete the transition to Afghan-led operations by the end of next year. We discussed Syria, where both our nations are working to strengthen the opposition and plan for a Syria without Bashar Assad. And I’m pleased that our two nations -- and our Peace Corps -- have agreed to expand our efforts to promote development around the world.
Finally, we’re expanding the already strong ties between our young people. As an engineer by training, President Park knows the importance of education. Madam President, you’ve said -- and I'm quoting you -- “We live in an age where a single individual can raise the value of an entire nation.” I could not agree more. So I’m pleased that we’re renewing exchange programs that bring our students together. And as we pursue common-sense immigration reform here in the United States, we want to make it easier for foreign entrepreneurs and foreign graduate students from countries like Korea to stay and contribute to our country, just as so many Korean Americans already do.
So, again, thank you, President Park, for making the United States your first foreign trip. In your inaugural address you celebrated the “can do” spirit of the Korean people. That is a spirit that we share. And after our meeting today, I’m confident that if our two nations continue to stand together, there’s nothing we cannot do together.
So, Madam President, welcome to the United States.(이하 생략)