ROK Drop

Avatar of GI KoreaBy on July 23rd, 2008 at 1:44 am

Korea Continues to Delay Cost Sharing Deal

The Korean government is once again playing their delay games:

South Korea and the United States have failed to narrow differences over how to share joint defense costs to maintain 28,000 U.S. troops on the Korean Peninsula, a government official said Tuesday.

Senior defense officials from the two nations met in Washington, D.C. Monday to discuss the defense cost-sharing issue, the official said.

During the one-day meeting, the United States called on South Korea to pay more to reach the 50-50 level in tune with Seoul’s growing economy and increased responsibility for national defense.

Washington also wanted to use the burden-sharing funds to relocate its military bases to south of the Han River.

Seoul officials, however, were skeptical about the proposals. They wanted to provide military equipment and materials to the U.S. military instead of offering host-nation funds in cash.  [Korea Times]

The goods instead of cash proposal is something the Korean government has been trying to get the US to agree to because providing goods is cheaper then paying cash and by not paying cash prevents USFK from being able to relocate to Camp Humphreys because there would be no funding to do so.  Since South Korea backed out of properly funding the USFK relocation, USFK has proposed using upkeep money to pay for the relocation which the Korean government is now trying to prevent from happening.

Here is the amount of money Korea paid the last two years for USFK upkeep that they are now trying to get reduced:

Seoul contributed 741.5 billion won ($787 million) under the 2006 Special Measurement Agreement, in which South Korea agreed to pay 725.5 billion, up 45.1 billion won from 2006, to the United States in 2007 and increase its level in 2008 in accordance with a rise in the consumer price index.

The U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) argues the figure represents some 41 percent of non-personnel stationing costs covering the salaries of Korean employees at U.S. bases, Korean contractors and service agents, as well as military construction, logistics procurements and maintenance and munitions storage.   [Korea Times]

Notice that the money South Korea pays primarily goes to pay Korean workers; so basically it is Korean money paying for Korean jobs.  Also take note that South Korea pays far less per year in USFK upkeep fees then what they send to North Korea every year.  So in essence the South Korean government pays more to the regime sworn to destroy the nation and less to the nation committed to defend it.

Here is another gimmick the Korean government is trying to get USFK to agree to which that have tried to pull before:

Seoul officials do not agree with the U.S. calculation on Seoul’s proportion of burden sharing. They said the difference over the proportion of host-nation funds between the two governments resulted from different ways of assessing the values of host-nation support programs.

For instance, South Korea provides about 27,000 reinforcement troops called KATUSAs (Korea Augmentation Troops to the U.S. Army) to the USFK for free as part of a host-nation support program.

The value of the KATUSA program would be at least $50 million a year on the assumption that a KATUSA soldier is paid $1,500 per month, the officials said.

This is of course a lie because KATUSA soldier does not make $1,500 per month, more like $15 a month.  KATUSA’s like much of the ROK Army conscripts are paid next to nothing which is another South Korean governmental travesty.

I fully expect the Korean negotiators to keep playing these same games and then watch them try to play the anti-US card by saying they can’t possibly reach a cost sharing agreement because of the threat of anti-US protests that could sink the US-ROK FTA.

While the nonsense of the cost sharing negotiations goes on, the Korean government has once again announced another construction delay at the Camp Humphreys relocation site:

The ongoing project to relocate frontline U.S. troops here to south of Seoul will likely be delayed by at least a few months as Seoul plans to change its base construction plans, officials said Tuesday.

A special construction review committee of the Defense Ministry will be convened Wednesday to decide whether to initiate the envisioned change, a move that could delay the multi-billion-dollar relocation project by up to one year, according to ministry officials.  [Yonhap]

The last delay put the Camp Humphreys relocation project’s completion at 2016 and now there is another delay that is putting the relocation at 2017.  As I mentioned before the Korean government is able to create a city on reclaimed ocean quicker then it can expand a military base that is a key aspect of its defense alliance with its most important ally.

The Korean government has never wanted the USFK relocation to happen for a variety of reasons and the only reason it has gotten as far as it has was because of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s threat to withdraw USFK which was made quite clear with the redeployment of 2nd Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division from the Korean peninsula along with a host of other troop cuts.  A few days after Rumsfeld resigned from office the Korean government immediately reneged on the transformation deal and announced the first delay of the Camp Humphreys relocation to 2012.

Since then the delays have only increased and now the Korean government wants to spend even less money for the maintenance of the US-ROK alliance.  It is all so predictable and as long as the political will in Washington remains the way it is the USFK gravy train will continue to roll at the expense of the welfare of US soldiers forced to serve a year in Korea separated from their families while also living in sub-standard living conditions.  Obviously few people in Seoul or Washington care about that.

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  • US Compensation for Wartime Bombing? | The Marmot's Hole
    12:18 pm on July 23rd, 2008 1

    [...] Something tells me there may be some other factors at work here:…..ring-deal/ [...]

  • shattered
    7:57 pm on July 22nd, 2008 2

    They need to cut loose all those dead weight "Bennidict Arnolds" KATUSAs.

  • Avatar of KalaniKalani
    8:53 pm on July 22nd, 2008 3

    If I remember right from last year they said the cost sharing formula — which was still being hassled as they started the SCM — had to be settled before the Oct 2008 SCM…and left it hanging with an "or else" impression. What that "or else" meant was left unpublished.

    Not only you are disgusted with the ROK. ME TOO!!! This is getting VERY old.

    The latest word that the ROK STILL wants to delay the Camp Humphreys move due to design changes is getting on my nerves. I guess it was wishful thinking that because Roh was gone everything would fall into place. SIGH… Things just ain't rolling along…

  • Jax
    9:28 pm on July 22nd, 2008 4

    "South Korea provides about 27,000 reinforcement troops called KATUSAs to the USFK for free as part of a host-nation support program."


    Correct me if I am wrong, but I think the Korea Times added an extra zero to that troop total … 2,700 sounds more correct. Otherwise, there would be an almost 1:1 ratio of USFK and KATUSA personnel.

    Also, those KATUSAs do not come for free. USFK may not pay their salaries, but those KATUSAs have to be housed, fed, trained, and given MWR. Though Korea may pay a portion of those utility costs, saying they come for free is complete nonsense.

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    9:57 pm on July 22nd, 2008 5

    Jax good catch, the 27,000 KATUSA numbers is nonsense and is more likely 2,700. Also good catch in regards to other expenses of the KATUSA program.

  • Cloying_Odor
    1:50 am on July 23rd, 2008 6

    You would think instead of burning billions of $ in a fruitless attempt to control the currency market they could just give the US the money and move on.

  • Leon LaPorte
    2:04 am on July 23rd, 2008 7

    I've said it before, I'll say it again… SURPRISE!!! :lol:

    Lets get the relocation pool started, shall we? I'll lay good odds on CP Casey being in place, much as it is now, beyond 2030.

  • Hamilton
    6:40 am on July 23rd, 2008 8

    I have a foolproof way for SK to save all the cost sharing burden. Of course it might get alot of their people killed and China/Japan/Russia would increase the beatings but at least they would be finally happy right?

  • The Western Confucia
    12:53 pm on July 23rd, 2008 9

    Excellent post. I'd just say that the US side is more worried about losing its bases à la the Philippines 1991-2 than any sinking of the US-ROK FTA. As Chalmers Johnson points our on page 68 of The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic, "From the moment we turned Japan and South Korea into political satellites in the late 1940s, the United States has paid off client regimnes, either directly or through rigged trade, to keep them docile and loyal." [Emphasis mine.] If the American worker need be sacrificed in order to maintain global Military Keynesianism, so be it say our leaders.

    Ivan Eland put it best in Ungrateful Allies when he noted that "the formal empires of old were not cost-effective, according to classical economists," and that the "informal U.S. Empire that defends other countries abroad using alliances, military bases, the permanent stationing of U.S. troops on foreign soil, and profligate military interventions is even more cost-ineffective." Here's more:South Korea is not the only wealthy U.S. ally to reap the rewards of a U.S. security guarantee, while not fully opening its market to the United States. Japan and most of the European NATO allies also do the same. The foolish U.S. policy of continuing to subsidize the defense of these now rich countries – all economic competitors of the United States – allows them to reduce the drag that added defense expenditures would impose on their economies. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy has to bear the costs of defending the world.

  • Korean Government Rejects Cost Saving Changes for Camp Humphreys Relocation
    10:39 am on July 24th, 2008 10

    [...] only is the Korean government committed to delaying the Camp Humphreys relocation as much as possible now they want to keep it as expensive as possible: A government review [...]

  • lirelou
    6:58 pm on July 23rd, 2008 11

    After years of observing our government in action, I am convinced that burocratic inertia underlies many of our presumed strategies. We hung on to Panama long after the Canal ceased being of primary value to our economy or defense. We declared that our Philippine bases were irreplaceable, yet Pinatubo managed to get us out fast enough. We hold on to Puerto Rico at a cost of tens of billions in welfare and matching payments long after we should have mandated its independence, we remain in NATO despite the fact that the very reason for its existence has disappeared, and we hold on to bases in Korea that defy our original reason for establishing them, the hard lessons of 1941-42 in China and the Philippines, and the socio-economic development of Korea over the past 25 years. All of this convinces me that most of our administrations keep too busy handling the real or perceived crises of the moment, rather than implementing programs in support of a coherent long term strategy. Korea must be made to accept responsibility for its own defense, or it deserves to come under the beneficence of the Dear Leader, and the quickest way to do that is to cut U.S. Forces in Korea to a very small planning staff headed by a single Brigadier General.

  • shattered
    7:08 pm on July 23rd, 2008 12

    "Korea must be made to accept responsibility for its own defense, or it deserves to come under the beneficence of the Dear Leader, and the quickest way to do that is to cut U.S. Forces in Korea to a very small planning staff headed by a single Brigadier General."

    I second that Lirelou!

    I think the best thing to do, is a total pullout save for about 20 military advisers with one officer, maybe a capt. Then let it be known that the Korean quagmire is outside of the American protection sphere. Then send give free one way tickets back to Korea for any Kyopo that wants one. Lastly offer to let North Korea have the entire South Korea for Takeshima island.

    :lol: :lol:

  • Why Do American Taxpayers Subsidize South Korea's Defense? by Joshua Snyder
    2:07 pm on July 24th, 2008 13

    [...] Korea” of ROK Drop does a yeoman’s job in exposing just one aspect of the folly of Empire – Korea Continues to Delay Cost Sharing Deal. He makes the startling observation that “South Korea pays far less per year in USFK upkeep fees [...]

  • More Corruption Uncovered at Camp Humphreys Expansion Project
    8:22 pm on July 29th, 2008 14

    [...] the years of delays announced for the Camp Humphreys expansion it makes you wonder how many more corruption convictions will be [...]

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    8:22 pm on July 29th, 2008 15

    [...] the years of delays announced for the Camp Humphreys expansion it makes you wonder how many more corruption convictions will be [...]

  • Documents Confirm Real Motivations of US Beef Protesters
    12:44 pm on July 31st, 2008 16

    [...] these leftist groups could still try to exploit to drive a wedge in the US-ROK alliance is the cost sharing issue which has still remained unresolved. The anti-US motives of these groups will probably come out [...]

  • ?? ? The Western Confucian: July 2008
    2:00 am on August 12th, 2008 17

    [...] South Korea’s Defense? “GI Korea” does a yeoman’s job in exposing a six-decade-old scam — Korea Continues to Delay Cost Sharing Deal. Our milblogger reports that as it is “the [current] money South Korea pays primarily goes to pay [...]

  • Camp Humphreys Delays to be Announced Next Month
    12:16 am on August 31st, 2008 18

    [...] then the delays have only increased and now the Korean government wants to spend even less money for the maintenance of the US-ROK [...]

  • USFK Cost Sharing Deal Reached with Korean Government
    3:46 am on December 29th, 2008 19

    [...] split for the upkeep of US forces in Korea and instead only got a 2.5% increase instead.  It was reported earlier this year that the Korean government currently pays 41% of the costs of maintaining US troops in Korea.  A [...]


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