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‘Seoul may face W40tr bill for wartime U.S. support’

Professor claims replacement of USFK may cost W36tr

South Korea may have to provide support worth 30-40 trillion won ($27.8-37 billion) to U.S. troops that will be augmented to fight here in case of a war under a bilateral accord, a defense professor recently claimed.

Kwon Heon-cheol, professor at National Defense University, also said that should the U.S. Forces Korea be withdrawn, it may cost around 23-36 trillion won to fill the void left by their absence.

Kwon said this in a contribution to the August issue of a monthly magazine published by the university. His estimates are based on materials from the Defense Ministry and other reliable sources, he said.

“(South Korea) is to provide a variety of materials to the U.S. augmentation troops in the event of a war, according to the Wartime Host Nation Support Memorandum of Understanding,” he said in the contribution.

“Our government is to provide to the U.S. some 1,300 items including ammunitions, communications and other services. All the items are estimated to be worth 30-40 trillion won.”

But he stressed that the value of the U.S. augmentation will be worth 150-400 trillion won ― five to 10 times more than South Korea is to offer.

Also in his piece, Kwon said USFK military equipment is estimated to be worth 17-31 trillion won.

“Key military pieces run by the USFK include 86 F-16 jets, each costing 34 billion won; 27 A-100 anti-tank aircraft, each worth 60 billion won; and around 30 multiple launch rocket systems, in total worth 100 billion won,” he said.

The value of key military aircraft run by the U.S. Second Infantry Division is estimated to be worth 2 trillion won. They include AH-1 Cobra, CH-47 and HH-60 helicopters. The value of the War Reserve Stocks for Allies managed by the USFK is estimated to amount to 6 trillion won.

“A variety of intelligence-gathering capabilities and abilities concerning command, control, communications and intelligence are critical in securing a victory in the era of information war,” he said.

“It is virtually impossible to gain such military power (the USFK now has) even if we make a tremendous investment to prepare for the withdrawal of the U.S. troops.”

By Song Sang-ho (