Wednesday, April 20, 2016

McCain Blasts Trump at Hearing

President Barack Obama's choice to lead U.S. forces in South Korea strongly endorsed the placement of a missile defense system on the peninsula at a Senate confirmation hearing that turned critical of Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump.
At the Tuesday morning hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Army Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, the current commander of U.S. Army Pacific, said that positioning the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, anti-missile system in South Korea would be a "critical step in providing a further layer of defense" against the growing North Korean nuclear threat.
Without mentioning Trump by name, Sen. John McCain, the panel's chairman, then used his question period to draw out Brooks on the multi-billion dollar contributions the Seoul government makes to support the presence U.S. forces in South Korea, including paying about half of the troops' salaries.
On the campaign trail last month, Trump said, "We take care of Japan, we take care of South Korea" and "we get virtually nothing" in return. As president, Trump said he would renegotiate or scrap the treaties under which the U.S. bases about 50,000 troops in Japan and 28,000 in South Korea.
Brooks agreed with McCain, an Arizona Republican, that South Korea currently pays about 50 percent of the personnel costs of U.S. troops in South Korea, amounting to about $808 million a year.
The general also agreed with McCain's estimate that South Korea was paying for more than 90 percent of the projected $10.8 billion cost for the plan to relocate U.S. forces from near the De-Militarized Zone to Camp Humphreys south of Seoul. "They carry 92 cents on the dollar -- absolutely," Brooks said of South Korea's contribution to the Camp Humphreys move. more