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U.S. to Review Relocation Program Unless South Korea Pays More

U.S. to Review Relocation Program Unless South Korea Pays More

Posted April. 26, 2007 03:18,   


The commander of U.S. Forces in Korea, General Burwell Bell, hinted that the U.S. may revise its plans for the U.S. base relocation unless Korea steps up its cost-sharing pledge.

Bell told the Senate Armed Services committee of the U.S. Congress on Tuesday in a written announcement, “If South Korea fails to achieve an equitable level of cost-sharing, recommending a range of fiscal measures to the U.S. government, including review of the relocation program, may become inevitable.”

Referring to the Special Measures Agreement (SMA) reached last year, he further remarked that the most reasonable scenario would be to share the non-personal stationing cost evenly between the two parties.

South Korea reached an agreement with the U.S. to increase its share of the burden this year to 41 percent from last year’s 38 percent at the end of last year. The total contribution is expected to reach 725.5 billion won this year.

Regarding General Bell’s request, Foreign minister Song Min-soon said on Wednesday at a briefing, “Seoul will discuss adjustments with Washington that will ensure reasonable and responsible burden-sharing soon.”

During the U.S. Senate hearing, Bell said, “Unless the six-party talks make progress, North Korea may consolidate its status as a nuclear power by around 2010 and develop a nuclear weapon than can reach as far as the U.S.” With regards to North Korea’s nuclear test last year, he stressed the importance of Theater Missile Defense (TMD) and urged Korea to adopt the system in order to enhance Korea-U.S. military collaboration. He later went on to argue that Korea should deploy the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC) missile system, which can intercept ballistic missiles.

At the moment, Korea’s Defense Ministry is planning to buy secondhand PAC-2s, an old version of the PAC-3, from Germany.

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