SEOUL, Feb. 21 (Korea Bizwire) — The foreign ministry on Wednesday admitted that a controversial part of a 2014 agreement to share costs for United States forces stationed in South Korea was omitted from its report to the National Assembly for ratification.
The ministry’s recent review of the agreement found that its implementation arrangement, under which South Korea could provide more cash for facility construction based on consent between the countries, was not included in its bill submitted to the parliament at that time.
The additional arrangement had been drafted when the defense cost agreement was submitted for parliamentary ratification in January 2014.
But it was reported to the Assembly much later after the agreement was approved in April.
“The task force concluded that this provided a source of suspicion of the existence of a behind-the-scenes agreement,” a ministry official said.
“It is clear that the arrangement for cash provision was drafted at the time (of the parliamentary reporting) but was not reported. This can be interpreted as a failure to report fully and spawned suspicions of a cover-up,” the official noted.
The allies renew the agreement to share U.S. military upkeep costs every five years. Under the 2014 deal, the ninth of its kind, South Korea agreed to pay around 1 trillion won (U$930 million) every year over the next five years.