Due to the recent spate of high profile GI misbehavior the Korea Herald has an article published that of course the so called professors and other experts interviewed have little idea what they are talking about:
Yang Uk, a research fellow at the Korea Security and Defense Forum, is among those who see problems with the current agreement.
“The reason why the SOFA regulation is different from Japan and Germany is that the U.S. could not believe (in) our judicial system back then. We have a very credible system right here (now) so it should be changed,” said Yang.
Critics of SOFA argue that its terms are less beneficial to Korea than similar agreements with Germany and Japan. Specifically, they say, the agreement inhibits Korean police from entering U.S. bases to interrogate or give chase to suspects.
“It is understandable that U.S. forces don’t want any foreign police on their bases or camps, but actually, they are working with Korean society so their help will be crucial to U.S.-Korea … cooperation,” said Yang. “So that’s the desirable change.” [Korea Herald]
Can Mr. Yang point out in the Japanese SOFA where police can just enter A US military base and grab someone out of the barracks? I sure do not see it. Also can Mr. Yang point out when USFK has not handed over a suspect when requested by the Korean police in compliance with the SOFA? Others have tried to answer this question and they always fail. For a more balanced discussion on the US-ROK SOFA I recommend everyone who hasn’t already to read my prior ROK Drop posting on this subject:
Further Reading: GI Myths: The Unfair US-ROK SOFA
The Korea Herald goes on to bring up environmental issues with USFK which I have long debunked here, but of course no discussion of USFK environmental pollution would be complete with out someone bringing up the 2000 Yongsan Water Dumping Incident:
More infamously, in 2000 the U.S. military was forced to apologize for dumping formaldehyde in the Hangang River. SOFA does not place responsibility on the USFK for environmental matters. Choi said that environmental damage by the U.S. military and subsequent refusals to accept liability were further examples of the problematic attitude shown toward the local population.
Once again I recommend everyone read my prior posting on this topic that shows what a fraudulent issue this is:
Further Reading: GI Myths: The 2000 Yongsan Water Dumping Scandal
The article then moves into GI crime and of course the Korea Herald has another expert that doesn’t know what he is talking about:
For some observers, however, it is not the text of SOFA itself that is the problem. Choi Seung-hwan, a professor of law at Kyung Hee University who has studied SOFA issues, said the biggest issue was a lack of willingness on the part of the U.S. military and Korean government to control crime and nuisance behavior by USFK personnel.
“My feeling is that the American authorities in charge of American soldiers here in Korea are very reluctant to control (them) even though they have committed very serious crimes in Korea,” said Choi. “They don’t cooperate with Korean authorities to settle, to solve criminal issues.”
Maybe Mr. Choi can answer the question of when has USFK not handed over a suspect to Korean police in compliance with the SOFA? If he can claim that USFK is not cooperating with Korean authorities then he should be able to provide plenty of examples. This Mr. Choi guys even goes so far to pull the “Korea is a small country” card:
“My feeling is the American government respects the German government and they are fearful of the German people, but in Korea the American government does not fear the Korean population because Korea is a very small country,” said Choi. “Suppose that Korean soldiers (were) stationed in the U.S. Suppose they committed a crime. Suppose that the Korean authorities in charge of the Korean soldiers in America don’t punish Korean soldiers who committed a crime against innocent American people. Could American people accept that kind of act? I don’t think so.”
Korea may be a small country in land size, but it is a country of 50 million people with one of the world’s largest economies and militaries. Korean products and cars are used by people all over the world. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon is a Korean. Korea is not a small country, but rather one of the world’s leading countries. As far as Korean soldiers being stationed in the US, there are already Korean soldiers stationed in the US. I have never been to a military school that did not have a Korean soldier in it. If they commit a crime off duty they will be held accountable for it in accordance with the SOFA between the ROK and US.
Anyway I recommend reading the whole article because the Korea Herald did do a good job balancing the anti-USFK experts with people with a more reasonable viewpoint in regards to the SOFA and GI Crime.