ROK Drop

Avatar of GI KoreaBy on February 6th, 2008 at 5:35 am

Troop Cuts in USFK to Continue

I have been waiting to comment on the Korean media speculation that USFK was going to halt troop cuts and as I suspected the Korean media misquoted General Bell:

The U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) Tuesday confirmed a plan to reduce its troop level to 25,000 by the end of this year under a global scheme to reposition U.S. troops overseas.

The confirmation of the previously announced plan came in response to recent news reports claiming the U.S. had decided to freeze its troop level at the current 28,500. The news reports cited recent remarks by U.S. Pacific Commander Adm. Timothy Keating and Gen. B. B. Bell, commander of U.S. Forces Korea.

“There has been no proposal by Gen. Bell or any other United States government official to change the 2004 agreement on troop reductions,” Col. Franklin Childress, public affairs officer of the USFK, said in a statement, adding the policy to reduce the troop level to 25,000 remains in effect.

“Any changes to our agreements would be the subject of formal consultations and would be announced jointly by both the United States and the Republic of Korea should a change be agreed upon,” the USFK spokesman said, referring to South Korea by its official name. [Yonhap]

For those that follow affairs on the Korean peninsula, misquoting people in the Korean media is often an intentionally used tactic. The Korean government wants to stop the war time control hand over along with USFK troop cuts so I would not be surprised in the least if the Korean media is being used to further emphasize this desire. I see no way the Korean government is going to be able to stop the relocation with General Bell in charge and backed by the current Pentagon leadership. The troop reduction, war time control hand over, and USFK relocation are currently no longer negotiable.

What I expect the ROK government to do is try to delay as much as possible this year and then try to get the new US president to stop the USFK transformation. The delay game is the same tactic being used in North Korea as well in regards to their nuclear program. Both these governments like playing the delay game because it works.

My worst fear is that if a Democratic president takes over and starts withdrawing troops from Iraq, in order to look tough and reassure US allies about the US commitment to them, the new president could decide to keep troop levels or even worse bolster them on the Korean peninsula. If this happens give me a red head band and a picket sign because I think I will be out protesting with Hanchongnyun as well.

You can read more over at One Free Korea.

  • OK, So US to Continue Troop Cuts | The Marmot's Hole
    6:31 pm on February 6th, 2008 1

    [...] Korea, meanwhile, is afraid that in the even of, ahem, regime change in Washington, the new bosses might look to bolster US troop levels in Korea: My worst fear is that if a Democratic president takes over and starts withdrawing troops from [...]

  • Cloying_odor
    2:14 am on February 6th, 2008 2

    Word on the street is that the ROK government is dragging it's feet providing money for the Humphreys expansion.. causing a work slowdown due to lack of funds. Wonder how far they can push that before they are in violation of the aggreements already set down.

  • Kalani
    4:29 pm on February 6th, 2008 3

    This is the second time in recent weeks that the USFK has been misquoted — and the USFK has shouted, "lies, lies, lies" — but only after the USFK allowed sufficient time for a stir to develop in the press and for all the blogs to start blathering. I'm starting to wonder if the "sources on condition of anonymity" being quoted by the ROK media aren't actually being fed misinformation by the USFK. It seems to me that it is advantageous to the USFK to play the same game as the ROK media — selective misinformation.

    And please don't tell me that the USFK always tells the truth when it denies things. In the past, some of its denials of news reports have come true. The USFK plays politics just like everyone else — and attempts to shape public opinion. I support the USFK but I'm a big boy and don't believe all the b.s. that comes out of the USFK mouth.

    The reason I'm SPECULATING about this is that all this troop level halt/decrease and rotational unit hysteria is playing on Lee Myeong-bak's wish to renegotiate the wartime control. However, the big bone of contention of cost-sharing still has NOT been resolved. It needs to get straightened out before the next Oct 2008 Security Consultative Meeting (SCM). All this talk gets the ROK populace thinking on how much do they really want the US in Korea — and how much are they willing to pay for it. The ROK Ministry of Defense knows the real situation and it ain't that bright without the support of the USFK.

    Under a new President, this cost-sharing formula bugaboo needs to be resolved. Now that the Conservatives are going to take control — atleast after the April elections — the USFK will be playing hardball. No equitable share of costs, there will be cuts in ROK workers; no monies to provide for the anticipated housing for USFK troops on a three-year tour, there will be fewer troops all the way around. You can make up your own scenarios. Bottomline is that the cost-sharing needs to be resolved before the Yongsan move.

    All this misinformation, cranks up the hysteria in the ROK media and gets the ROK populace looking realistically at their situation. Ding dong the witch is dead (Roh), but all the flying monkeys are still loose (activist groups).

    Again I'm one of those asshole speculators that Gen Bell lashed out against. But I'm just wondering…

  • 2nd Infantry Division Relocation Delayed Until 2015
    9:38 pm on February 24th, 2008 4

    [...] Okay somebody give me a Hanchongnyun head band: [...]

  • The Captain’s Journal » 2nd Infantry Division Deploys to Iraq - No, Not Really!
    5:10 pm on February 25th, 2008 5

    [...] 2ID in Korea.  Drop by and read his post until it makes you rather sick. Okay somebody give me a Hanchongnyun head band: A proposed southward relocation of U.S. frontline troops in South Korea will be delayed for about [...]

  • Korean Government Denies Cost Sharing Deal Reached with USFK
    9:40 pm on March 17th, 2008 6

    [...] it just me or has the Korean media made it a habit of misquoting General Bell in Korean press releases?  General Bell is now saying that if the Korean government does not [...]


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