South Korea's President Moon Jae-in attended the inaugural ceremony for the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), Jeong Kyeong-doo, on Sunday and said he will exercise his authority to defend the country against North Korea's nuclear and missile program.
Moon also reaffirmed he will support the military to reclaim wartime operational control from the US and deploy the three-axis defense platform.
In 2014, the US and South Korean defense chiefs agreed to delay shift of war-time command role to South Korean command leadership until Seoul has better military capabilities to counter the kinds of nuclear weapons and missile threats posed by North Korea.
North Korea's rapid progress in developing nuclear weapons and missiles capable of reaching the US mainland has fueled a surge in tension.
The US and South Korea are set to conduct a joint military exercise called Ulchi Freedom Guardian on August 21.