Disarmament DiplomacyIssue No. 22, January 1998
US Defense Secretary Warns Against South Korea Cuts
Speaking in Seoul on 22 January, US Defense Secretary William Cohen expressed concern at the recently stated intention of the South Korean government to cut its 1998 defence budget by around 10%. The cuts form part of far-reaching reductions in expenditure required under the terms of assistance granted to South Korea by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in late 1997. According to reports, $804 million is scheduled to be cut from an operating budget of $8.62 billion. Cohen stated: "We believe any reduction in the defense budget and host-nation support would be counter to South Korea's interests and would send a wrong signal to the North..."
'Host-nation support' by South Korea, including the payment of wages to South Korean employees at US military facilities, amounted to nearly $400 million in 1997 - a figure likely to rise sharply as a consequence of the drastic depreciation of the South Korean Won against the US Dollar.
Report: US - Seoul defense cuts sends wrong signal, Reuters, 22 January.
© 1998 The Acronym Institute.