Esper urges ROK to increase defence spending
Mark Esper, US Secretary of Defence has urged his South Korean counterpart Jeong Kyeong-doo to contribute more to his nation’s own security.
He reiterated Washington’s commitment to the defence of the ROK but said: ‘Shouldering the cost of the common defence cannot fall disproportionately to the American taxpayer.’
The comments were made during Jeong’s visit to the Pentagon on 24 February.
It comes after the US has made repeated calls for its security partners across the world to increase their commitments to security partnerships. Most notably, this has been the case in Europe where smaller nations have been urged to increase their funding contributions to NATO.
In August 2019, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) revealed plans to spend $239bn between 2020 and 2024. Any increase in ROK defence spending is likely to benefit US companies as the country remains a top customer of FMS. Between 2008 and 2016, 75% of South Korea’s foreign military purchases originated from the US.
By 2023, 36% of defence spending in South Korea will contribute to ‘force enhancement’ according to a 2018 defence white paper.
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