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Korea Asked U.S. Not to End Munitions Stockpile Program

Posted April. 17, 2005 23:23,   


It was confirmed that when the U.S. first notified the Korean government that it decided to end the War Reserve Stocks for Allies (WRSA) program in 2003, Korea strongly requested the U.S. to review the measure because it “could be interpreted as a weakening of the Korea-U.S. alliance.”

Controversy is expected as the aforementioned fact contradicts the government’s recent explanation that the abrogation of the WRSA program does not signify a weakening of the Korea-U.S. alliance.

In particular, since it was revealed that the U.S. then brought up President Roh Moo-hyun’s policy to reinforce “independent national defense” as a major reason to end the WRSA program, it was found out that the emphasis on independent defense provided the U.S. with a reason to pressure Korea to augment its defense expenses.

According to the minutes of the 35th Korea-U.S. Security Consultative Meeting’s (SCM) Logistics Cooperation Committee (LCC) held on June 12, 2003 that the newspaper acquired through a U.S. Pentagon channel yesterday, the U.S. notified in the meeting in Washington that “[we will] phase out and terminate the WRSA program by 2007.”

The U.S. argued, “The USFK is very pleased that President Roh re-manifested Korea’s policy to reinforce independent defense. This measure is integral to achieving President Roh’s objective.”

Subsequently, the U.S. added, “The WRSA program was made when it was difficult for Korea to buy or produce the necessary logistics for its military because its economy and industrial basis were frail. But the Korean economy has rapidly developed since then. For Korea to achieve independence in defense, it should not depend on the WRSA program any more.”

To the above remark, the Korean government expressed apprehension, saying, “Since Korea cannot increase its defense budget rapidly in the short-term, it is difficult to accept the U.S. suggestion. If we agree to the abrogation of the WRSA program, neighboring countries could think that the Korea-U.S. alliance has weakened.”

In addition, the Korean government suggested, “It is premature to end the WRSA program. Let’s discuss the revision or abrogation of the WRSA program again after enough logistics are stocked in the Korean Peninsula.”

At the conference, the U.S. Defense Department’s international cooperation bureau director Al Volkman and the Korean Defense Ministry’s logistics officer, Maj. Gen. Choi In-soo, attended as delegation leaders.

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com