On Monday, South Korean Defense Minister, Chang Myoung-jin said the country is willing to take a greater share of military expenditures. South Korea will be willing to share more “if there is a huge demand” from the US President-elect Donald Trump,” he said the statement in a Washington seminar.
Furthermore, Chang implies that South Korea needs to cut back on other expenses. Meaning, Seoul may limit another budget spending which can lead to problems for the government.During the US election campaign, Trump provoked alarm over one of his speeches. He mentioned a move to withdraw American forces deployed in South Korea if Seoul would not give the additional budget cost.
Also, the US President-elect also considering permitting South Korea and Japan to develop their own nuclear weapons. Both countries currently rely on the US nuclear umbrella.
Chang pointed out during the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank, that South Korea presents an important role. The country strategic role exists to defend not only from the nuclear-armed North Korea but China and Russia as well.
The defense minister said, “If, and this maybe a big if, President-elect Trump and his administration, when it comes to alliance with South Korea, if there is a huge demand for more burden in the part of South Korea, Korea will inevitably have to embrace that’.Seoul gives at least $800M of contribution annually about 40% of the total cost. The budget is put into use in maintaining the 28,000 US troops deployed in South Korea.
Presently, an estimate of $40B is needed for military spending next year according to Chang. The budget covers weapon enhancement systems, replacements, and maintenance.
He added that “The welfare budget has been on a steady increase, which has had some restricting impact on our defense budget and on the same page the threat that has been posed by North Korea has been increasing, so that really puts us in much dilemma”.
Chang explained their position as, “To have a lot of defense budget secured would be all good; however it will mean we will have to cut back on other budgets”. If the situation calls for the action, it will generate “a lot of resistance” which will put the South Korean government in a dilemma.