|Members of Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea stage a protest in front of the Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI) headquarters in Seoul, Wednesday. They called for a thorough investigation over how the money South Korea paid the U.S. military from 2014 to 2018 under their defense cost-sharing pact was spent. The group later submitted a formal request signed by 614 people to the BAI. Courtesy of Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea|
By Jung Da-min
A civic group has asked the Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI) to investigate how the money South Korea paid the U.S. military from 2014 to 2018 under their defense cost-sharing pact was spent.
Over the five years, 95.42 billion won ($8.03 million) was used for maintenance of military equipment that did not belong to the United States Forces Korea but to the Japanese military, according to a recent press release from the office of Rep. Chun Jung-bae of the minor opposition Party for Democracy and Peace, citing statements from the Ministry of National Defense.
On Tuesday, civic group Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea staged a protest in front of the BAI headquarters in Seoul, calling for a thorough investigation. It later submitted a formal request signed by 614 people.
The civic group said the Special Measure Agreement (SMA) budget should solely be used for the USFK presence in South Korea and it was a violation of that agreement and the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between Seoul and Washington if the budget was used for other purposes ― for overseas U.S. forces in this case.
The defense ministry told Chun's office that there was an exception that the budget could be used overseas with the agreement of South Korea and the U.S. if it was to support the joint operations plan in case of a North Korean invasion.
Most of the 95.42 billion won budget used overseas supported maintenance of U.S. forces military equipment in Japan, including F-15 fighter jets and HH-60 fighters, according to the ministry.