US and Korea conclude USFK cost sharing agreement:
South Korea and the United States on Wednesday struck a deal to increase Seoulâ€™s share of the cost of maintaining American soldiers here in 2007 and 2008 by 6.6 percent, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said.
Korea will contribute a total of 725.5 billion won ($780 million) next year, up 45.1 billion won from its share this year, and its share in 2008 will be 725.5 billion won plus the rate of inflation in 2007, ministry officials said.
“We could conclude the agreement with the U.S. side on the phone,â€™â€™ a ministry official said. “Both sides are not totally content with the result of the negotiations, but I think it is the most reasonable result based on the spirit of the Seoul-Washington alliance.â€™â€™
The deal was struck after six rounds of negotiations between Seoul and Washington.
South Korea is going to contribute $780 million dollars to USFK next year which is still less than half the overall USFK costs. Prior to this agreement South Korea payed roughly 40% of USFK’s costs; this new agreement means they are paying roughly 46% of costs.
Let’s compare the $780 million dollar cost sharing agreement to the amount of money Seoul sends to North Korea. While North Korea was busy creating international instability with their ballistic missile and nuclear bomb tests, the South Korean government was busy sending them a record amount of humanitarian aid. The South Korean government sent $227 million dollars worth of humanitarian aid while private donors in South Korea sent $70 million dollars worth of humanitarian aid for a grand total of roughly $300 million dollars in humanitarian aid to North Korea.
On top of the humanitarian aid, the Korean government this year sent 650 billion won or about $690 million dollars in inter-Korean economic aid to North Korea to finance joint Korean ventures such as the Kaesong Industrial Project the and Kumgang Tour operations.
So if you add up the humanitarian aid and economic aid sent to North Korea by South Korea this year, it comes up to nearly $1 billion dollars in aid while the South Korean government payed only 40% of the cost sharing for the US-ROK alliance for a total $735 million dollars. In effect the South Korean government is willing to pay the North Koreans more money than they are willing to pay for cost sharing of the US-ROK alliance that has been responsible for ensuring the economic, political, and national security of the nation for over 50 years.
Then to make matters worse the US negotiators had to then haggle for months to get the South Korean government to raise their cost sharing contributions by a only 6.6% to $780 million dollars this year while planning on continuing to give North Korea a billion dollars in aid next year despite their provacative ballistic missile and nuclear tests.
Obviously for the South Korean government it is more important to pay off the gangsters than to fund the very alliance that has made the Republic of Korea possible.