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☞ Issue 109
글씨크기 크게 글씨크기 작게 기사 메일전송 기사 출력
S. Korea works out new USFK cost-sharing proposal

New plan would involve more non-cash payments to support USFK presence

관리자 (2008/05/13 23:58)  

The South Korean government was believed to have mapped out a proposal for sharing the cost of stationing U.S. troops here by drastically increasing its contribution of needed goods, instead of money. The new proposal was devised after the two leaders of South Korea and the United States agreed to revise its agreement on support for the U.S. Forces Korea during their summit on April 19.

On May 12, a South Korean government official said, “Out of the South Korean government’s cost-sharing budget, we are aggressively considering providing needed goods for military construction costs, which are currently paid in cash, to improve the fund’s transparency.”

This means it is likely that the South Korean government will make non-cash payments to build non-combat facilities to support the Combined Defense Improvement Program. The CDIP is a project focused on the construction of combat facilities such as military runways or ports. The South Korean government would also provide non-cash compensation for military supplies needed to maintain ammunition storage or logistics facilities. Under the reported plan, the South Korean government would only make cash payments for U.S. military forces personnel.

Under the current agreement, the South Korean government makes all of its payments for personnel and 95 percent of its payments for military construction in cash. Up to this point, South Korea has paid 100 percent of the costs for the CDIP and military supplies with needed goods. If the reported revision is implemented, the ratio of cash payments to the total financial burden assumed by the South Korean government would be reduced to 41 percent, from 78.5 percent. The forecast was based on figures from 2006. South Korea paid 725.5 billion won (US$695 million) to support the USFK last year and allocated 741.5 billion won for this year.

However, the negotiations between South Korea and the United States on how to share defense costs are likely to face an uphill battle as the United States has called on South Korea to pay a larger share of the USFK’s upkeep, while taking a lukewarm stance toward the South Korean government’s proposal to increase its share of non-cash payments because it sees reported revision as undermining the U.S. government’s leeway in allocating the costs.
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