Allied friends: Seoul did not give $4 billion for the maintenance of US troops
SEOUL, (BM) – The Republic of Korea and the United States, after three days of intense negotiations in Los Angeles, could not resolve the differences on the issue of the distribution of costs for the deployment of American troops on the Korean Peninsula, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing The Korea Herald.
The 7th round of negotiations on a joint defense agreement was launched by representatives of Kazakhstan and the United States on March 17. This document defines the costs of the two countries for the maintenance of American troops deployed on the Korean Peninsula.
So far, the heads of the two countries’ delegations, Jong Eun Bo and James Dehart, have agreed to continue consultations in order to minimize the negative consequences of the lack of an agreement.
The previous round took place in January in Washington. During the current negotiations, the South Korean delegation, led by Chung Eun Bo, tried to reach an agreement on the salary of South Korean citizens working at US military bases.
They are in a particularly difficult situation: the American side threatened to send them on unpaid leave from April 1, unless a new agreement is concluded by this time. According to The Korea Herald, according to some sources,
Washington is demanding approximately $ 4 billion from Seoul to cover the cost of maintaining its troops on the Korean Peninsula this year.
This is approximately $1 billion less than previously announced. Seoul, however, considers this requirement excessive.
For its part, the US Presidential Administration Donald Trump is trying to get the allies to pay the full cost of deploying the US military on their territory, plus 50%. The pressure tactics that Washington has chosen have borne fruit precisely in relation to South Korea.
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Last year, Seoul agreed to significantly increase payments for the maintenance of the US military: by 8.2%, to $ 925 million. At the same time, the agreement was concluded for exactly one year, due to which the White House is now trying to revise the agreements reached earlier.
It is known that Trump, while still a presidential candidate, repeatedly complained about the presence of the US military in South Korea, considering it pointless.
“It all started with Trump’s indignation that the United States, which had an annual deficit of $ 18 billion in trade with South Korea, should spend $ 3.5 billion a year on the maintenance of its military in this country,” the journalist Bob Woodward explained.
At the same time, the history of military cooperation between Seoul and Washington is older than Trump himself. For the first time, a large US military contingent was sent to the peninsula in September 1945. It was a post-war mission, the task of the troops was the disarmament of Japanese forces south of the 38th parallel, drawn by the United States and the Soviet Union. Japan occupied the peninsula back in 1910.
In 1949, American troops were recalled, but already in 1950 they returned in accordance with the mandate of the United Nations after the outbreak of the Korean War – the first major armed conflict during the Cold War.
After the outbreak of hostilities, the first president of South Korea, Lee Seung Man, transferred command of the Korean armed forces to General Douglas MacArthur, who led the American army in Korea.
This step strengthened military cooperation between the United States and the Korean South.
On October 1, 1953, a few months after the end of the Korean War, the United States and Kazakhstan signed a Joint Defense Treaty, the aim of which was to combine the strategic capabilities of the two states in order to effectively “reflect the common danger” and strengthen the ties for a joint struggle “against threats of communist aggression.” At the same time, the provision of emergency US military assistance was not automatic and implied approval by the US Congress.
The United States gained the right to deploy ground, naval and air forces in South Korean territory not only on the basis of previous UN resolutions on Korea, but also on a bilateral basis. Moreover, any restrictive framework for such placement was not specified.
In November 1954, the Allies drew up a Protocol on the continuation of cooperation on economic and military issues. According to the document, Seoul transferred its own military forces under the “operational control” of the United States (OPCON) under the control of the UN Command in South Korea (U.N. Command / UNC). Later, in November 1978, UNC transferred OPCON control over the combined forces of South Korea and the United States (CFA), leaving only American peacekeepers on the peninsula.
Seoul has long been trying to regain control of the military part of OPCON’s powers for strategic purposes. However, active action by Pyongyang led to delays in this matter.
Now the government believes that this could happen by about 2023. The transfer is expected to affect the role of the combined forces, as US troops will play a supporting role in the hostilities.
The United States Forces Korea (USFK) is one of the structural units of the Indo-Pacific Command of the US Armed Forces (USINDOPACOM).
The US Armed Forces in South Korea is one of the main groupings in the region and, according to the Pentagon, is “a key manifestation of the US government’s desire to restore equilibrium in the Asia-Pacific region.”
The USFK is also tasked with planning operations for the evacuation of non-combatants.
If such a need arises, citizens of the United States and other countries previously agreed with the US command will be evacuated from areas of war.
To this end, the USFK periodically conducts exercises to ensure that this process is “effective, efficient, and streamlined.”
“The United States Armed Forces in the Republic of Korea have units and formations of the ground forces, air force and naval forces, marines and special operations forces,” the former deputy chief of the Main Operations Directorate of the General Staff told Gazeta.ru RF Armed Forces Lieutenant General Valery Zaparenko.
According to the military leader, the combat and numerical strength of the American troops in the Republic of Kazakhstan is formed from the 8th army of the US ground forces of 20 thousand people, the 7th air army of 8 thousand people, as well as a small unit of the Marine Corps and Special Operations Command.
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According to official figures, the US Armed Forces bases are still in 53 regions of the Republic of Korea. Ground forces units are mainly located at the military base at Camp Humphries. It is located 40 miles south of the former base in Seoul and about 60 miles from the demilitarized zone.
The area of the military base is 10 million square meters. m. Camp Humphries is the largest facility of the US armed forces outside the continental part of the country. According to recent reports, in total in the south of the Korean Peninsula, about 28 thousand US troops are stationed.
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