Letter to the U.S. Government
relating to SMA Negotiations between ROK and the U.S.
We, the Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea (SPARK), are an active Korean peace movement organization. We are addressing the Special Measures Agreement (SMA) as part of our work, in an effort for equal relations between Korea and the USA
Currently, the Korean and US authorities have been going through negotiations to conclude the Special Measures Agreement (SMA) that will be implemented from 2014 and forward. Accordingly, SPARK makes our demands clear on the problematic issues of the SMA as follows.
1. The US's call for Korea to increase its share to 50% of NPSC is unjust.
You are saying that Korea shares only 40-45% of the Non-Personnel Stationing Costs (NPSC) of US Forces in Korea (USFK). And you are calling for Korea to increase its sharing to 50% of the NPSC.
However, the ROK has been providing other direct or indirect supports besides Korea's SMA contributions. But your estimate for Korea’s contributions acknowledges only Korea’s SMA contributions. This approach is unfair and unjust.
Upon analyzing the data from both the ROK and US Departments of Defense, SPARK concludes that Korea's cost sharing of USFK NPSC accounts for 65.1%.
ROK contributions to USFK's non-personnel stationing costs in 2010
|the NPSC by the US||Korea's contribution including direct or indirect support||Total NPSC|
|Amount(Rate)||$ 773.3 million(34.9%)||tpf=board/list&board_code=11,444.89 million(65.1%)||,218.19 million (100%)|
|Source||OFFICE OF THE UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE (CONTROLLER), 『OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE OVERVIEW FISCAL YEAR 2012 BUDGET ESTIMATES』, February 2011, p.208.||Documents provided to Korean Assembly by the Korean Ministry of National Defense, 2013|
2. The rise in cost for the strengthened combined defense capabilities cannot be the basis for raising Korea’s contributions to cost of USFK upkeep.
At a first round of talks in early July in 2013, the U.S. alluded to increasing North Korean nuclear missile threats as grounds for a spike in Korea's contributions. That is, the US-Korea combined joint military exercises were conducted, and B-52 bombers, B-2, and F-22 had been deployed in coping with the alleged threats from North Korea. Thus, Korea was asked to raise its cost-sharing in order to compensate for this eventual costs .
However, “North Korea’s nuclear missile” is essentially in response to the U.S., and does not have a direct relationship with ROK defense. Furthermore, the deployment of B-52 strategic bombers and ROK-US combined joint military exercises have been executed even before North Korea had no nuclear weapons. To speak honestly, both combined exercises and B52 bombers flying over the Korean Peninsular are not for defending ROK but for carrying out the US hegemonic strategy on North Korea. Therefore, demanding an increase in Korea’s financial contribution to USFK upkeep is entirely unreasonable.
Moreover, the deployment of B-52 over the Korean peninsula is not what the Koreans desire. Instead, this deployment escalates Koreans’ fear of an impending war crisis. Therefore, the US must withdraw its claim for increasing the ROK’s share to the cost of USFK upkeep.
3. The USFK spends Koreans’ tax wastefully as if it is “free money”.
When we look back on the past SMAs, the US has consistently forced the ROK to increase its share of costs of USFK upkeep. However, the U.S. ends Korean citizens’ taxes on improper or unlawful projects. In 2004, the U.S. agreed to finance the relocation of the 2nd Infantry Division on its own budget in the Land Partnership Plan (LPP). However, the US siphoned money from ROK funded MILCON to fund the relocation of the 2nd Division, violating LPP. The US has not only received interest by depositing that money, but has also evaded taxes for the interest.
This April, the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) published 「INQUIRY INTO U.S. COSTS AND ALLIED CONTRIBUTIONS TO SUPPORT THE U.S. MILITARY PRESENCE OVERSEAS」(2013. 4. 15). Pointing out that "USFK use of hundreds of millions of dollars of in-kind contributions from South Korea is subject to little oversight", this report referred to $ 10.4 million museum for the 2nd Division and tpf=board/list&board_code=11,400,000 dining hall project in Yongsan base as questionable projects that treated Korea's SMA contribution as “free money”.
Upon the ROK-US implementing agreement concerning Logistics Cost Sharing(LCS), Korean contractor is supposed to carry out "all LCS service work". In violation of the agreement, PAE which is the subsidiary of Lockheed Martin reaped about million dollars by logistics service work from 2007 through 2011. The following is another example. Out of Korea’s Labor Cost Sharing, about $one million dollars were improperly paid for Dragon Hill Hotel employees—a truth confirmed by a US Department of Defense inspectors’ report in February 2008.
4. As a result of Korea’s increasing share of USFK Stationing Costs, the burden has aggravated onto the Korean citizens as well.
From 1991-2013, Korean national defense expenditures were increased from .6 billion dollars to .7 billion dollars, increasing 3.6 fold. In comparison, Korea’s SMA contribution jumped from 4 million dollars to 0 million dollars - increasing 6.2 fold. Accordingly, Korea’s SMA contribution as a percentage of its national defense budget nearly doubled, from 1.4% to 2.5%. As a result, Korea’s SMA contribution becomes more burden to Korean people.
5. Korea’s share of USFK Stationing Costs hinders Korea’s own independent defense capacities.
For the past 22 years, from 1991 to 2011, Korea has paid as much as billion dollars for USFK. The sum surpasses .2 billion dollars of estimated value of USFK owned equipment.
If the Korea’s support for USFK( billion dollars) had been invested in strengthening Korea’s military power instead, the Korean military would have correspondingly been able to be equipped with the similar level of the USFK military equipments. Thus, Korea’s sharing of USFK upkeep costs weakened eventually Korea’s own independent military capabilities.
6. The SMA by which Korea shoulders 65.1% of NPSC contradicts the ROK-US Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and thereby it is illegal.
In Article 5 of the ROK-US SOFA, Korea is stipulated to provide USFK with facilities and areas without cost to the U.S.(Paragraph 2), whereas the US to bear without cost to Korea all expenditures incident to the maintenance of USFK(Paragraph 1). This is meant to share and balance the USFK stationing costs between the host nation (ROK) and the troop sending nation (U.S.).
However, the SMA is a special measures agreement that halts the ROK-US SOFA Article 5 and forces ROK to partially bear the USFK stationing costs. This agreement is shifting the US responsibility on to Korea, and is not a treaty that ROK wants but a treaty concluded through the U.S. coercion in order to reduce the US’ financial burden.
Only Korea and Japan provide the US troop with SMA contribution. Other US allies don't do so. Furthermore, Korea already provides Korean Augmentation to the United States Army (KATUSA, 3,400 troops) and Korean Service Corps (KSC, 2400 workers), the likes of which do not exist anywhere else in the world.
In conclusion, the Korea SMA is an uneven and unjust, and thereby unacceptable arrangement.
7. Since USFK has become ‘Rapid Reaction Forces’ by which its key role is not for defending Korea but for the U.S. regional and global hegemony, it is unjust for Korea to cover the USFK Stationing Costs by the SMA
Korea provides USFK with facilities and areas without cost to the US simply because the US is stipulated to defend ROK against North Korean invasion by the ROK-US Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT).
However, the USFK's main role shifted from defense of South Korea against North Korea to Rapid Reaction Forces for US regional and global hegemony (under the name of “strategic flexibility”). This shows that the ROK –US authorities have admitted that USFK is no longer bound to defense mission on Korea.
As it becomes increasingly apparent that USFK’s purpose and duties have been shifting, it also becomes clear that Korea’s contribution to USFK Stationing Cost is becoming increasingly difficult to justify.
8. We demand the following:
1) Cease the use of Korea’s SMA contribution for the purpose of US base relocation.
2) Pay back to Korea 0 million that has been accumulated as of 2012 out of Korea Funded MILCON in order to finance the USFK relocations
3) Stop demanding .7 billion among Korea SMA contribution that the USFK have not asked for deliberately during the 8th SMA in order to divert to relocation cost
4) Supervise and monitor thoroughly against illegal and unfair use of Korea’s SMA contribution
5) Make Korea SMA valid for one year
6) Start to negotiate with Korea for the abrogation of SMA which violates the ROK-US SOFA.
Aug 23, 2013
Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea