A BUNDLE FOR KOREA

Morrell, Jim & Holland, Max

A bundle lor Korea Amidst the bribery scandals. Congress votes record aid Jim Morrell and Max Holland After a brief and perfunctory debate, the Ninety-fifth Congress voted to grant South Korea...

...With twice the population and four times the Gross National Product of the North, and a military budget now more than twice the North's, the South is building up its military potential far more rapidly...
...military equipment in 1979 as part of the five-year, $5.2 billion arms acquisition program that began in 1976...
...But if the two sides seem in rough balance today, it is equally true that long-term trends favor the South...
...military assistance will pay for $2.2 billion ($1.4 billion in military credits, $800 million in outright grant), and the Korean government the other $3 billion...
...Further, North Korea has built up a larger indigenous arms industry than the South, although the South is closing the gap...
...foreign-aid program to South Korea...
...banks and the Eurocurrency market totaling $1.1 billion in 1975, $1.3 billion in 1976, and $1 billion in 1977, and $764 million in the first half of 1978...
...ground forces by 1982...
...But the North's numerical equipment advantages and the geographic vulnerability of Seoul do not translate into military superiority...
...Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and over the last ten years it has imported three times more arms than the North...
...In 1974, Congress cut military aid to South Korea by $93 million on human-rights grounds, and the Carter Administration did abstain on two Asian Development Bank loans worth $1.7 million to South Korea in December 1977 because of President Park's dismal human-rights record, but overall the aid is increasing to new levels...
...commanders in Korea insist South Korea is the weaker, while the Pentagon maintains publicly that North and South are evenly matched...
...Crucial in all of these alternative aid policies is one's assessment of the military balance on the Korean peninsula...
...Equally disquieting is the proximity of Seoul to North Korean forces deployed in a forward-attack posture along the thirty-eighth parallel only twenty-six miles to the north...
...South Korea is getting the most aid it has ever received at precisely the time it needs it least...
...troops there indefinitely...
...These figures omit the 33,000 U.S...
...Analysts reflecting the views of U.S...
...South Korea today receives many times more total military and economic aid than the North gets from its reluctant communist allies, while the North's lines of bank credit from the West are now all but closed because of its recent string of defaults...
...North Korea's Kim Il-sung commands a formidable military machine, with an almost two-to-one advantage over the South in numbers of tanks, artillery, armored personnel carriers, and aircraft...
...In air power, the U.S.-South Korea side would achieve air superiority over the ground battle" in the first few days, severely hampering a North Korean massed tank offensive...
...By coincidence, the number of U.S...
...But in addition to these amounts of military aid, the Pentagon expects South Korea to spend $1 billion on U.S...
...troops actually scheduled to leave during the first year of the compensation plan is exactly 800, prompting one bemused observer to wonder whether our soldiers are being ransomed back at a million dollars apiece...
...It is even more ironic that South Korea's record-high aid package won Congressional approval in the midst of the Korean bribery investigation...
...personnel by the end of 1981...
...troops now in Korea, to be phased out by 1981...
...With the full military compensation plan going through, the Soviet Union and China will be under pressure to provide at least some comparable equipment to their North Korean ally...
...military assistance to South Korea this year to $ 1.1 billion, or more than the total Seoul received over the previous five years...
...and multilateral aid than any other country in the world...
...with almost the entire national security establishment opposing the withdrawal, it is unclear whether it can ever be completed as planned...
...Still, the Carter Administration has several times put off or scaled down the withdrawal to pacify its right-wing critics, and most of the men are scheduled to remain in Korea until 1981, when the final decision will fall to the President elected in 1980...
...Ironically, South Korea's current aid receipts of $2 billion a year come at a time when President Carter has made human rights the rhetorical theme of U.S...
...The $5.2 billion buildup, announced by South Korean president Park Chung Hee as a response to rumblings from the North in 1975, is three-and-a-half times larger than the previous $1.5 billion five-year military modernization plan in effect from 1971 to 1975...
...Yet it has been clear for some time that neither communist ally, for reasons of its own, is interested in renewed conflict on the peninsula...
...The $800 million comes on top of another $275 million in foreign miliJim Morrell and Max Holland are associated with the Center for International Policy, a Washington-based project of the Fundfor Peace...
...In 1978 and 1979, as in 1976, South Korea will have received more U.S...
...Furthermore, the United States provides between 16 and 33 per cent of the loans South Korea receives from the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation, the Asian Development Bank, and the International Monetary Fund all multilateral institutions in which the American voice is persuasive...
...military aid running at $1.1 billion, and World Bank aid at $370 million one-quarter of it provided by the United States the total of all U.S...
...At that point, Sino-Soviet support would become essential for survival of the North Korean regime...
...And in addition to the official economic and military aid, South Korea received private loans from U.S...
...South Korea's ground forces the fifth largest army in the world number 600,000 on active duty, compared to the North's 520,000, and 2.8 million in reserve forces, compared to 1.8 million in the North...
...The arms race on the already overmilitarized peninsula will escalate and chances for a diplomatic solution recede as the South pulls ahead of the North economically and militarily...
...evaluations of the Korean balance of power, however, have long been tailored to fit certain ends...
...Congress votes record aid Jim Morrell and Max Holland After a brief and perfunctory debate, the Ninety-fifth Congress voted to grant South Korea $800 million in arms as part of a plan to "compensate" the Koreans militarily for the withdrawal of American ground forces...
...The South has a decisive edge in combat experience: 'The arms race on the already overmilitarized peninsula will escalate...as the South pulls ahead..' Some 300,000 South Koreans fought in Vietnam, while the North has not sent troops into combat in twenty-five years...
...The impulses to cut aid to Korea whether to effect improvement in Seoul's human-rights performance or to extract the testimony of reluctant Korean officials in the bribery scandal came to nothing in Congress...
...Liberals in Congress have accepted this overwhelming level of military aid as the price they must pay to appease the hawks and assure removal of U.S...
...The South's arms shopping list includes such sophisticated weaponry as sixty F-16 fighter aircraft, a weapon more advanced than any supplied to the North...
...and multilateral credits will reach $2.3 billion...
...analysts expect the North to retain its numerical advantage in these key categories through 1982 and beyond...
...That President can expedite or delay the withdrawal as circumstances demand...
...Such a conclusion would be quite unfair, of course, since the 800 men leaving in 1979 are only the first installment in the planned withdrawal of 33,000 U.S...
...aid and credits to South Korea flow through a dozen separate spigots, including Food for Peace, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the Commodity Credit Corporation Export Credit Sales Program, and the Housing Guaranty Program...
...military commanders in Korea, however, note that Brown could hardly have taken a different public stance...
...foreign policy...
...Yet military aid is only the smaller part of the total U.S...
...Still, the Carter Administration insists that all this aid is necessary "to compensate for the firepower of U.S...
...During that period, South Korea imported more than twice as much military equipment as the North, according to the U.S...
...In fiscal 1979, with U.S...
...This fact alone lends some credence to right-wing alarums about the threat from the North...
...Defense Secretary Harold Brown said in 1977 that U.S.-South Korean forces have the capability to contain a North Korean attack north of Seoul...
...foreign-policy decision making is to keep U.S...
...The impulses to increase aid and credits as demanded by generals in Korea and exporters in the United States prevailed...
...This massive and increasing flow of outside money whether military grants or credits, bilateral or multilateral economic aid and credits, or private bank loans raises the question of whether the United States is not already compensating and overcom-pensating in Korea...
...In fact, the military balance is the subject of quite varying estimates both in and out of government...
...Of that $5.2 billion, U.S...
...The possibility of reducing aid and removing our troops in conjunction with a diplomatic settlement has been not so much dismissed as ignored...
...The North's almost 2,000 tanks outnumber the South's 1,100, but this "tank gap" is at lease partially offset by superior U.S.-South Korean close air-support capability and by the South's 1,000-plus TOW anti-tank missiles, so-called "smart weapons" that performed effectively in the 1973 Middle East War...
...and multilateral aid, $1.9 billion of it provided by the United States...
...forces to be withdrawn and to redress in the process those imbalances that exist in favor of the North, taking indigenous arms production on each side into account...
...While these economic aid flows are not directly military-related, they do free foreign exchange for large Korean cash purchases of military equipment, or, as in the case of Food for Peace aid, generate local currency which the central government budget can use for military or any other purposes...
...tary sales credits and $3 million in military training funds, raising the total of U.S...
...By then, however, the Koreans will have received their $800 million in "compensation...
...The State Department does not publish the total amounts South Korea receives through all these sources, but in fact it has risen from $714 million in fiscal year 1970 to $1.4 billion in 1975, $1.6 billion in 1976, $1.25 billion in 1977, and a record-high $2.4 billion in 1978 in U.S...
...These and other anti-tank weapons are well suited to the mountainous defensive terrain in the traditional invasion corridors to Seoul...
...Congress has accepted the Administration view because the only apparent alternative as demanded by powerful conservative voices now in the ascendancy in U.S...
...Overall, it appears plausible that North Korean forces might achieve successes in the first days of a war, but that the U.S.-South Korean counterattack would turn the tide and carry the war and widespread devastation to the North...

Vol. 43 • March 1979 • No. 3


 
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