Press "Enter" to skip to content

Reps. Bera and Chabot Urge Administration to Finalize Comprehensive Cost-Sharing Agreement Between United States and Republic of Korea

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representatives Ami Bera, M.D. (D-CA) and Steve Chabot (R-OH), Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia, and Nonproliferation, expressed bipartisan support for expeditiously finalizing a mutually acceptable, comprehensive cost-sharing agreement with our South Korean allies before April 1.

Since 1991, Special Measures Agreements (SMA) have served as a pillar of the shared commitment to the defense of the Korean Peninsula by combined U.S. and Republic of Korea (ROK) forces

In a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the lawmakers wrote:  

“A robust U.S.-ROK alliance is the linchpin of our countries’ approach to securing our shared interests in defending peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific…Members of Congress have consistently demonstrated bipartisan support for expeditiously concluding Special Measures Agreement negotiations to allow the alliance to jointly focus on key national security challenges in the Indo-Pacific, including COVID-19 response, North Korea’s illicit weapons program, and China’s increasing assertiveness across the region. In particular, we encourage your Administration to continue prioritizing the speedy conclusion of negotiations before April 1, lest U.S. Forces Korea would need to again furlough the South Korean nationals supporting the command.”

Full text of the letter can be found here and below:  

The Honorable Antony Blinken

Secretary of State

2201 C Street, NW

Washington, D.C. 20520

Dear Secretary Blinken,

We are encouraged by reports indicating the Administration is close to concluding negotiations over a Special Measures Agreement (SMA) between the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK). We write to offer our continued support for finalizing a mutually acceptable, comprehensive cost-sharing agreement, in a manner that supports the enduring nature of the relationship. 

A robust U.S.-ROK alliance is the linchpin of our countries’ approach to securing our shared interests in defending peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific. Forged through shared sacrifice, our alliance has blossomed over the past seven decades with the commitment exemplified by the words “katchi kapshida” – “we go together.” We support negotiations towards an agreement that is mindful of the ROK’s significant contributions towards our shared defense burdens, but also keeps pace with the developing needs of the alliance. 

Members of Congress have consistently demonstrated bipartisan support for expeditiously concluding SMA negotiations to allow the alliance to jointly focus on key national security challenges in the IndoPacific, including COVID-19 response, North Korea’s illicit weapons program, and China’s increasing assertiveness across the region. In particular, we encourage your Administration to continue prioritizing the speedy conclusion of negotiations before April 1, lest U.S. Forces Korea would need to again furlough the South Korean nationals supporting the command. We thank you for tending to this urgent matter, and urge you to do so while ensuring the long-term health of the alliance and that the agreement reflects our shared view that Seoul can and should take on additional responsibilities and meet an increased share of the burden of maintaining that alliance.

We appreciate the classified briefing the State Department provided House and Senate staffers on this matter in early February, and the Administration’s general willingness to consult Congress on matters of foreign policy. As negotiations progress, we look forward to engaging the Administration to better understand the specific terms of the agreement, your vision for further strengthening the U.S.-ROK alliance, and areas where Congress can support U.S. objectives on the Korean peninsula.

Sincerely,

Representative Ami Bera, M.D.

Chairman

Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia, and Nonproliferation

Representative Steve Chabot

Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia, and Nonproliferation

Go to Source
Author:

Mission News Theme by Compete Themes.