Seoul 'Pays More for U.S. Forces Upkeep Than Tokyo'

  • By Yu Yong-weon

    May 25, 2018 12:40

    Seoul currently pays W3.4 trillion a year for the upkeep of the U.S. Forces Korea directly and indirectly (US$1=W1,079).

    That is more than what Tokyo pays to support the U.S. Forces Japan, according to analysis by a state-run think tank.

    Yu Jun-hyung at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses cited the figure at a forum hosted by Minjoo Party lawmaker Kim Kyung-hyup in the National Assembly on Thursday.

    "The cost of supporting the USFK's upkeep has been estimated at W3.39 trillion per year as of 2015 -- W2.43 trillion in direct support including defense burden sharing, and W958.9 billion in indirect support like tax breaks and land."

    "But the overall running cost is estimated at more than W5.4 trillion including support for the USFK's relocation to Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province," he added.

    It was the first time a state-run think tank has published relevant figures and has led to speculation that the Defense Ministry deliberately spilled the beans in an effort to counter the U.S., which claims that Korea is not pulling his weight.

    "Tokyo paid the equivalent of W6.78 trillion in 2015 to support the upkeep of the USFJ, but there are 62,108 U.S. troops stationed in Japan, far more than the 28,034 in Korea," Yu added. "All things considered, Seoul is paying much more money than Tokyo." 

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