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The U.S.` Request to Korea to Include C4I Modernization Costs Causing a Stir

The U.S.` Request to Korea to Include C4I Modernization Costs Causing a Stir

Posted October. 18, 2004 23:08,   


To the U.S.` request to include the costs of modernizing the C4I (command, control, communication, computer, and intelligence) in the category of defense burden sharing between Korea and the U.S., the Korean government`s foreign affairs and security authorities showed baffled responses, saying, "It runs counter to the relocation agreement of the Yongsan base."

When he was questioned about the U.S.` demand concerning the C4I modernization costs burden sharing by Uri Party`s Representative Ahn Young-geun during the parliamentary inspection by the Defense Committee yesterday, Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung stated, "I take the issue very importantly, and I believe that we should tackle it with prudence. Yet, it seems that we cannot agree to the U.S.` request at this time."

An authority of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade acknowledged yesterday, "It is true that the U.S. wanted to use Korea`s defense burden to modernize the C4I, considering the costs as part of the station costs in the defense burden sharing negotiations draft."

Nevertheless, he drew a line, "The government will enter into negotiations so that the ROK-U.S. agreement that specified on the umbrella agreement (UA), one that Korea recently provisionally signed, will be abided by and the issue won`t spread to other issues like the Special Measures Agreement (SMA), in which defense burden sharing is its objective."

Another authority of the ministry also showed a negative posture saying, "The U.S. is requesting the Korean government to include the C4I modernization costs, public utilities charges, various rents, and maintenance costs of some facilities in the burden sharing category, so we will review its demand but I do not feel the need to make a new category."

There is more talk that the U.S. vigorously strived to include the C4I modernization costs and rents in Korea`s defense burden sharing in the relocation negotiations of the Yongsan base, which was concluded last August, but it ran up against a brick wall because of the Korean government`s refusal. Accordingly, the Korean government is grasping that the U.S. is trying to include the costs in the defense burden sharing negotiations. It means that the U.S. failed in the relocation agreement but it is trying to pass on the costs to Korea by making such suggestions.

There is yet another analysis that contradictory suggestions were made by the U.S. because of a lack of policy coordination between the Department of Defense and the Department of State as the former and the latter held the initiatives for the relocation agreement of the U.S. Forces and defense burden sharing, respectively. Accordingly, the Korean government switched the negotiation channel for defense burden sharing from the Ministry of National Defense to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in August.

However, the government apprehends that the current C4I costs burden issue could seed new conflicts between Korea and the U.S. Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Ban Ki-moon showed alert as it could cause stirs and said, "The U.S.` request was made as a draft of the U.S. government`s position, and the issue is currently under review and negotiations."