April 15, 2011 13:15
Korea will spend US$500 million over the next five years to support U.S.-led operations in Afghanistan. The announcement followed a meeting by the foreign ministers of the 48 countries that contribute to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, where Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Jae-shin was the Korean representative.
Korea has provided $180 million in aid to Afghanistan through the Korea International Cooperation Agency. This will rise to $680 million with the latest contribution, the most Korea has given another country. It provided $460 million for reconstruction efforts in Iraq.
Seoul has offered support for reconstruction in Afghanistan, dispatching a provincial reconstruction team in July last year, but faced criticism for the amount of money it gave compared to the U.S. ($37.1 billion), Japan ($3.15 billion), Canada ($1.25 billion), the Netherlands ($1 billion) and Australia ($650 million).
The pledge matches a U.S. diplomatic cable of Aug. 6, 2009 revealed by WikiLeaks in November, in which the U.S. Embassy here said Washington needs more assistance from Korea and had asked for $100 million a year over five years. At the time, the Foreign Ministry denied knowledge of the request, but five months later it pledged the exact amount.
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