Some 9000 South Korean employees at US bases in the country may be forced to go on unpaid leave if no cost-sharing deal is reached between Washington and Seoul.
On Monday, the US Defense Secretary Mark Esper will meet South Korean minister of defense Jeong Kyeong-doo to discuss a range of bilateral issues including the regional security environment, policy toward North Korea, the planned transition of wartime operational control (OPCON), and the Special Measures Agreement (SMA) cost-sharing deal.
The SMA outlines South Korea’s contributions to the non-personnel costs of hosting the US military. Contributions are divided across three categories: Korean National labor, ROK funded construction, and logistics, with the vast majority of SMA contributions going back into the Republic of Korea (ROK) economy.
Since 1991, the SMA has been updated every five years to ensure Seoul shares about half of the burden. Funding provided under the 10th Special Measures Agreement lapsed on December 31, 2019.
To sustain American troops, the US says it has been using its own funds that will get exhausted on March 31, 2020. If agreement cannot be reached on a comprehensive new SMA, the Pentagon says, it will be “necessary to furlough most KN employees on April 1, 2020, and suspend many construction and logistics activities.”
The US Forces Korea (USFK) claimed that South Korea paid only around $860 million for the 28,500 American troops deployed there in 2018. That reportedly accounted for 41% of the non-personnel costs. The White House is now demanding yearly renewal of the agreement, and a nearly a 100% increase in Seoul’s pay up, according to some reports.
US President Donald Trump has reportedly called on Seoul to cover the cost of deploying new aircraft carriers and bombers. The US has already deployed two Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) launchers to South Korea.
“Furloughs may be avoided if the ROK agrees to a more equitable SMA. The US remains committed to negotiating a mutually acceptable agreement which provides for fair and equitable burden sharing and strengthens the US-ROK alliance,” a Pentagon statement read.
Estonia Receives 128 Raytheon Javelin Anti-tank Missiles
Saab to Supply Water-bombing Aircraft to Sweden
Boeing Preparing KC-46 Aerial Tanker for Autonomous Refueling
US Navy Orders 3 More Boeing MQ-25 Stingray Aerial Refueling Drones
Chinese Military Docs Develop Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccine
Russia’s Buk-M3 Air Defense System to Debut at Victory Day Parade
China Replaces Russian Engine in J-10C Jet With Locally-made WS-10 Taihang
India’s L & T Bags US Govt Contract for Special Naval Vessel...
After laying to rest its pacifist post-World War II posture since the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe came to...
China is pulling off the impossible- selling arms to nations it is in conflict with over its claim in the...
Several joint production and direct procurement programs could be halted if the US and Europe carry through with their threat...
Sanctions-hit Iran has found ingenious ways to develop military hardware
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly permeating the defence industry to aid and improve human decision-making
Upgrade of Russias Sukhoi Su-30SM fighters to equip them with armaments, radar, sensors and engines from the more powerful Su-35...