Alarm has started to spread in Seoul over reported demands by the United States that Korea contribute to the upkeep of U.S. military forces beyond the Korean Peninsula.
According to Rep. Yoon Sang-hyun, chairman of the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee on Thursday, Washington’s chief negotiator in negotiations with Seoul over the Special Measures Agreement (SMA), James DeHart, told Korean lawmakers and government officials in a meeting that Korea should pay approximately $4.7 billion in alliance upkeep costs - around five times the amount it currently pays to keep U.S. forces stationed on its soil.
Yoon told a local broadcaster that this amount includes labor and logistics costs for the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) - which Seoul is already paying - but also maintenance and deployment costs for U.S. strategic assets on Korean soil and at U.S. military bases abroad, possibly in Guam, Hawaii and around the Indian Ocean.
Other expenses demanded from Korea include the costs of conducting combined military exercises and upkeep for civilian attaches to the USFK.
Yoon said he told DeHart that Korea’s legislature would not be able to accept such massive increases to the country’s alliance costs apart from the kind of expenses it is already paying. (end of excerpt)
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