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PSPD  l  People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy

  • Peace/Disarmament
  • 2018.09.11
  • 320

The United States should cease demanding excessive increases in defense funding and the creation of groundless "operational support" items. 

The cost of deploying strategic platforms cannot be covered by the defense cost sharing.

It's time to slash, not increase costs, and the government must refuse unreasonable demands.

 

The sixth round of negotiations for the signing of the 10th Special Measures Agreement (SMA), which will be implemented starting from 2019, will take place in Seoul for two days starting from today (8/22). The U.S. has insisted during the negotiation process that South Korea should sharply increase its share of the costs and also bear the costs of developing strategic platforms. The fifth round of talks even led to an absurd demand for a new "operational assistance" item to impose the cost of developing strategic platforms onto Korea. As this is an unwarranted demand beyond the purpose and scope of this special agreement, it should be stopped immediately.

 

Both Korea and the U.S. acknowledged that Korea is paying more than half (up to 65% or more) of the cost of stationing U.S. forces in Korea, including direct and indirect support, in addition to the annual defense cost of 1 trillion won. According to a survey conducted by Yoo Joon-hyung, a senior researcher at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses (KIDA), Korea's total cost to U.S. troops in Korea exceeded 5 trillion won in 2015 alone. It has also been revealed that the U.S. military has accumulated some of the contributions provided by South Korea, illegally appropriated them for projects to relocate the U.S. military base in Pyeongtaek, and made interest profits. Aside from the illegality of the act, it is evidenced that South Korea is already paying for the full cost of the U.S. troops stationed in South Korea. In particular, the project to relocate the U.S. military base in Pyeongtaek, which cost Korea 11 trillion won over the past 10 years, was completed this year. This is expected to reduce the cost of building military facilities in the future. It is time to make a drastic cut, not increase.

 

According to media reports, the U.S. demanded support in the creation of a new "operational assistance" item during the fifth round of talks, including the cost of deploying strategic platforms. However, the agreement is an exception to the SOFA (South Korean Status of Forces Agreement), which requires the U.S. to pay U.S. military expenses other than the facility area, and aims to provide 'Support for U.S. Forces Stationed in Korea'. Support will also be limited to the cost of constructing military facilities, the labor cost of Korean workers, and the cost of military support expenses. The demand for sharing the cost of deploying strategic platforms is clearly deviating from the purpose of the defense cost contribution to support the U.S. military presence in Korea, and cannot be subject to the defense cost sharing item.

 

In the Panmunjom Declaration, South Korea and North Korea agreed to halt all hostilities against their counterparts and realize gradual disarmament by establishing military confidence. North Korea and the United States also agreed to establish a new North-American relationship in the joint statement of the NK-U.S. Summit. The development of U.S. strategic platforms that can be regarded as military hostilities against North Korea is a violation of the Panmunjom Declaration and is a stumbling block to the peace regime on the Korean peninsula. The creation of an "operational assistance" item is no more acceptable as it pushes ongoing costs onto future generations. Under such circumstances, on August 14, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea Harry Harris asked Moon Hee-sang, chairman of the National Assembly, to ratify the Parliament's swift treaty. In the situation where the position between Korea and the U.S. is sharply divided and negotiations are in progress, this action is like pressing the National Assembly with ratification consent. This should be criticized for neglecting the procedures of the negotiating partners.

 

It is no surprise that the Korean government has not responded to the U.S.’ request for the principle of "fair share of a reasonable level that the people can understand." But the U.S. is expected to exert  its pressure even more as the talks have already passed the middle of the negotiations. The government must never accept the demand for excessive increases relating to  the United States and the creation of groundless "operational support" items until the end of the negotiations. Furthermore, the government should make every effort to reduce excessive and unnecessary subsidies and to ensure the appropriateness of the demands as well as the transparency of enforcement. 

 

* Statement [See/Download] 

* Korean Version >>

 

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