UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Tracking Number:  128052

Title:  "Menetrey Sees No Easing of Tensions in Korea." Commander of US Forces in Korea's testimony to Senate Armed Services Committee. (900209)

Date:   19900209


02/09/90 *


(Text: Testimony before Senate panel) (3550)

Washington -- General Louis C. Menetrey, commander of U.S. forces in Korea, told the Senate Armed Services Committee February 8 he saw no progress being made in easing the tensions between North and South Korea. "The real problem is North Korea doesn't recognize South Korea as a sovereign nation," he said. In recent weeks, North Korea has actually drawn away from the ongoing talks, Menetrey said, and there has been no movement at all in establishing confidence-building measures.

Following is the Menetrey statement, as prepared for delivery:

(begin text)


Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the Armed Services Committee. It is a pleasure to appear before you today to discuss the defense of U.S. interests in the Pacific. It has been nearly a year since I last appeared before this committee, and during that time the world has witnessed changes on a scale few of us would have imagined. While the profound changes occurring in Europe have focused much of our attention on that part of the world, we must also consider the state of U.S. interests elsewhere. Confronted with the political and military changes on the international landscape, as well as the realities of budgetary constraints, an examination of the U.S. role in Northeast Asia, including the Republic of Korea (ROK), is most appropriate.


Northeast Asia is an area where the interests of the four major world powers intersect -- the U.S., U.S.S.R., PRC and Japan.

The East Asia and Pacific region is of ever-increasing importance to global stability and to continued American prosperity.

For years, trade in the region has greatly exceeded that with Europe.

The economic vitality of the U.S. is linked to this region.

Together, the U.S. and Japan account for 40 percent of the gross world product.


The U.S. postwar grand strategy of containment was designed to check the advance of communism, reverse that

GE 2 epf506 advance whenever and wherever possible, and ultimately to foster conditions leading to fundamental alterations within the communist world that would transform it into a less threatening system.

U.S. national military strategy is built primarily around deterrence, alliance solidarity, and forward deployed forces.

Deterrence, to be effective across the spectrum of conflict, must be based on credible, combat-ready forces and an equally credible political will to employ them.

Alliance solidarity produces a synergistic effect which benefits all partners.

Forward deployed forces demonstrate resolve, foster regional stability and power balances, support friendly nations and provide quick reaction capability in emergencies.

U.S. security objectives in East Asia and the Pacific include assisting allied and friendly nations develop politically and economically, free from encroachment, coercion or active military threat.

Our alliance with Japan is basic to the U.S. position in the region. A primary U.S. objective in the postwar era has been to maintain regional stability through strong bilateral ties.

Since the 1970s, the U.S. and PRC have engaged in strategic cooperation designed to counter the power of the U.S.S.R. in Asia. The tragic events in China in 1989 do not negate the fact that U.S. interests are best served by a relatively stable U.S.-PRC-U.S.S.R. relationship.

There is no multinational security arrangement in the region as there is in Europe. U.S. bilateral security guarantees and forward deployed forces are the glue which binds the region together, maintains stability, and preserves the peace.

Table 1.


NK vs. ROKN/7th Fleet: Greatly Favorable to ROK/U.S. AIR

NK vs. ROKAF/PACAF: Favorable to ROK/U.S. GROUND NK vs. ROKA/EUSA: Greatly Favorable to NK.


KA/EUSA 1.5:1 2.2:1 2.5:1

a. As little as one day warning of conflict. b. NK ground forces are forward deployed (attack positions). c. NK Arty/MRL density along DMZ is 2.5 times that of Warsaw Pact in Central Europe.


The long-standing threat to U.S. interests in Northeast Asia is North Korea's unremitting hostility. It

GE 3 epf506 remains one of a handful of countries that have been accurately described as heavily armed, poverty-stricken, garrison states.

These characteristics, combined with its first generation revolutionary leadership, rigid ideology, and Orwellian control over its citizens, make North Korea unpredictable and highly dangerous.

Since 1970, North Korea has been engaged in a well- coordinated national effort to enlarge and modernize its armed forces.

The military balance on the peninsula, based on known personnel strengths, equipment, and force deployments, continues to favor North Korea. This situation is expected to improve as the Republic of Korea continues to modernize its armed forces.

A significant factor in the military balance is the level of Soviet assistance to the North -- assistance which has continued in spite of the Soviet's newly declared security policies of "reasonable sufficiency" and "defensive defense" -- and increased diplomatic and commercial interaction with South Korea.

North Korea maintains a well-trained, highly disciplined army, with numerical advantages over the ROK in most categories of combat power, including a 370,000-man advantage in personnel strength and superiority in tanks, artillery and multiple rocket launchers. (Table 1)

-- The North Korean Special Operations Force, more than 80,000 strong, engages in terrorism, subversion, and intelligence collection, and represents a serious threat to South Korea.

-- Major North Korean ground forces are deployed well- forward, supported by extensive underground facilities and storage sites near the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). This posture masks the North's intentions and considerably reduces warning time of an attack against the South.

The North Korean air force retains a numerical advantage over the ROK Air Force and has made qualitative improvements as well.

The acquisition from the Soviet Union of advanced combat aircraft (e.g., MiG-29, SU-25), modern radars, and newer air defense systems enhances North Korean air defense and intercept capabilities.

The North Korean navy enjoys a substantial advantage over the ROK Navy, particularly in submarines and fast attack patrol boats, as well as in new infiltration and amphibious vessels.

The North continues to utilize much of its industrial capacity to produce military items and will likely continue to do so,

Military spending by the North has remained relatively steady, averaging between 20 and 25 percent of Gross National Product.

North Korea's substantial military investment has come at the expense of balanced economic development.

North Korea is clearly one of the most heavily armed nations in the world and, unlike the nations of Eastern

GE 4 epf506 Europe, shows no signs of lessening its commitment to the Kim Il Sung personality cult, its obsessive militarism, or its own brand of communism.

Tension reduction and confidence building measures proposed by the United Nations Command and South Korea have been uniformly rejected by the North.

North Korea's bleak economic outlook and South Korea's advantages in population and economic growth notwithstanding, the military threat posed by North Korea remains significant.


It is to the benefit of the U.S. to foster democratic principles and free market economies. The U.S.-ROK alliance provides the security shield necessary to attain these goals in the Republic, given the threat from North Korea.

The U.S.-ROK military partnership provides unique joint and combined training opportunities for ROK, U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) and many other U.S. forces from off the peninsula -- in the actual environment where they would likely fight in an emergency.

Impact of U.S. Forces Korea

Global Perspective:

USFK represents the translation of the strategic concept of containment into reality on the Asian mainland and is thus an indispensable element in our security architecture. Specifically, USFK:

-- Represents a component of U.S. worldwide deterrence.

-- Graphically demonstrates by its presence the U.S. commitment to fulfill its collective security and treaty obligations.

-- Epitomizes forward deployment of combat forces to protect the vital interests of the U.S.

-- Represents commitment and continuity in an area of the world where meaningful reductions in East-West tensions have not yet occurred.

-- Rather, North Korea and the PRC have recently grown closer as each resists the changes sweeping much of the rest of the communist world.

-- The U.S.S.R. has strengthened its security relationship with North Korea and has continued to supply modern weaponry.

-- North Korea continues its arms buildup and shows little desire to reduce tensions or change its 'Stalinist' system.

Table 2.


GE 5 epf506 JAPAN OKINAWA KOREA TOTAL ARMY 1,589 847 31,841 34,277

MARINES 17,145 23,480 459 41,084**

ORCE 8,298 7,984 11,419 27,601

S 26,932 32,311 43,719 102,962

a. Represents 4.5 percent of Army, 5.2 percent of Navy/Marines and 4.8 percent of Air Force. b. Only land threat is on Korean peninsula. c. Only Army combat forces west of Hawaii.

(*As of 31 Dec 89. **Does not include all of U.S. 7th Fleet.)

Regional Perspective:

USFK, along with other U.S. air, sea and land forces deployed in the region, is a key stabilizing factor in East Asia and the Pacific. A unilateral U.S. withdrawal would create a vacuum that others would want, or would feel compelled, to fill. The regional balance of power would be upset, with global ramifications. Specifically, USFK:

-- Deters North Korean aggression, which if unchecked, would have repercussions throughout the region and the rest of the world.

-- Acts as the agent for the U.S.-United Nations to enforce and maintain the Korean Armistice, thereby contributing directly to stability in the region.

-- Maximizes U.S. influence in a region increasingly important economically, politically and militarily to the U.S.

-- Helps ensure the security of Japan, which, besides being of obvious benefit to the Japanese, reassures neighboring countries worried about any possibility of Japanese military dominance in the region.

-- Comprises the only U.S. combat force on the Asian mainland and the only Army ground combat force west of Hawaii.

-- Provides forces available for deployment to other potential trouble spots far from the U.S. mainland (or Hawaii).

Peninsula Perspective:

USFK represents the power of the U.S. military instrument and the willingness to use it if necessary. Our presence has deterred North Korea for 37 years and has created the conditions which have allowed the ROK to emerge as a democracy and an economically advanced nation. Specifically, USFK:

-- Provides, particularly with ground forces, the single most effective deterrent to North Korean aggression.

-- Contributes significant ground combat power, disproportionately larger than the 2d Infantry Division (2ID) numbers alone would indicate.

GE 6 epf506

-- Provides ground; air; naval; command, control and communications; indications and warning; and logistics assets and capabilities which the ROK military cannot replicate at present.

-- Fosters conventional (and nuclear) stability in one of the world's potential flash points.

-- Contributes directly to the steady maturing of the ROK military through combined operations and training, common doctrine, and interoperability.

-- Complements ROK forces as they move toward parity with the North.

ROK Military Capabilities

Since the end of the Korean War, South Korea, assisted by the U.S., has continually expanded its military capabilities.

Today, the ROK military, composed primarily of conscripts, is a well-trained, disciplined, and capably-led force.

South Korea has devoted approximately one-third of its defense budget for force improvements and modernization since 1984.

Projected ROK Force Improvement Program (FIP) funding for 1990-95 is 24,300 million dollars, representing a twofold increase over the 1985-89 funding level.

The ROK decision to spend over 4,000 million dollars to purchase F/A-18 aircraft under the Korean Fighter Program is an example of the FIP at work. This aircraft will significantly improve ROK Air Force capabilities and enhance deterrence on the peninsula.

In 1990, ROK purchases of military equipment and supplies from the U.S. and third countries are projected to reach 1,450 million dollars and 275 million dollars, respectively.

Sharing The Costs Of Deterrence

The ROK shares defense costs at least as much as other U.S. allies.

Over the past two decades, the ROK has increased defense expenditures significantly more than the U.S. or any of our other allies.

-- On average, annual defense spending has traditionally represented one-third of the ROK national budget.

-- With military personnel costs only about a third of those for the U.S., a much larger portion of the ROK defense budget can be devoted to other categories, such as procurement of new equipment and other force modernization issues.

South Korea devotes a significant portion of its population to defense.

-- With universal conscription (30 months) and a strong reserve program, the percentage of Koreans receiving military training is more than twice that of the U.S.

GE 7 epf506

-- The ROK provides nearly 6,000 soldiers for duty in U.S. Army units based in Korea under the Korean Augmentation to the U.S. Army (KATUSA) program.

ROK support of U.S. forces in Korea amounts to 300 million dollars in direct contributions and over 1,900 million dollars in indirect contributions, of which 1,200 million dollars is rent-free land.

In the future, direct cost sharing contributions are expected to expand into a wider variety of areas and grow at a rate equal to or greater than the growth of the ROK economy.

Stationing forces in Korea represents by far the least costly method of maximizing U.S. influence in the region. The only way to save money would be to disband the forces and dispose of the equipment.

A unilateral withdrawal of U.S. forces in an attempt to save money runs the risk of being dangerously counterproductive, given the present political-military realities on the peninsula.

Such a move could well be interpreted by the North as a weakening of U.S. commitment.

-- A unilateral withdrawal, with no change in U.S. obligations under the Mutual Defense Treaty, would weaken deterrence and would ultimately cost far more in the event redeployment in a crisis was necessary.

-- Redeployment in a crisis, in time to make a difference, is by no means assured given the short warning time predicted by intelligence agencies.


Improvements in the broad areas of sustainability, force structure/modernization, and information management must continue.

Sustainment of U.S. forces in time of war is our major concern. Problem areas include:

-- Modern Munitions: Critical shortages exist in preferred munitions. These munitions provide the armor- piercing capabilities needed to counter the North Korean armor threat and air-to-air capabilities against the numerically superior North Korean air force.

-- The intensity of initial combat requires prepositioned resources in country to sustain combat forces.

-- Reserve stocks in the Pacific theater do not satisfy our critical needs. A lengthy delivery time is required to receive materials from the continental U.S. In wartime, we cannot rely on the already overburdened strategic airlift to haul our munitions across the Pacific.

-- Prepositioned War Reserve Stocks (PWRS): Inadequate stocks of major end items, repair parts, spare parts, and medical items persist.

-- Shortages in major end items of equipment are particularly acute for combat vehicles, howitzers, tactical radios, and night vision devices.

GE 8 epf506

-- There is an urgent need for funds to construct additional covered storage areas for war reserves.

-- In-country petroleum, oil, and lubrication stocks, critical to the sustainment of allied forces in Korea, are partly stored in inadequate, vulnerable facilities. Delivery lead time and exposure to hostile action make dependence on offshore resources an Achilles heel for U.S. forces.

-- Medical Support. Two critical areas are Deployed Medical Systems (DEPMEDS) and the Frozen Blood Facilities:

-- DEPMEDS is necessary to provide a field hospital system that can be readily relocated. It is also essential for treating patients who cannot be medically evacuated out of country.

-- Frozen Blood Facilities are vital to our forces in the Pacific. They ensure that sufficient blood products are available during the early stage of armed conflict and will allow the command to operate independently of outside sources.

Force Structure/Modernization remains a problem as we attempt to maintain our warfighting capability while drawing down our forces to meet the Northeast Asia Troop Strength ceiling and other directives. Our primary concerns are:

-- 2d Infantry Division (2ID) Army of Excellence (AOE) Design.

-- Delivery of modern weapons systems is on track; however, the facilities needed to support them are lagging far behind.

-- Without facilities, AOE conversion must be implemented on a catch-as-catch-can basis, creating adverse affects on training, sustainability, readiness, and quality of life.

-- APACHE (AH-64) Helicopter Conversion. With its lethal antitank weaponry and all-weather, day and night capability, the APACHE is essential to the defense of the ROK.

-- A considerable portion of the construction for stationing the APACHE was accomplished by the ROK Army an a Combined Defense Improvement Program project.

-- The APACHE flight simulator facility is in the FY91 Military Construction Army (MCA) program. The simulator is vital because of airspace limitations and lack of ranges to accommodate the aircraft's weapons systems.

-- Funding for this 1.5 million dollar construction project must be protected in budget reviews. Without the simulator, pilots cannot maintain proficiency.

-- Unmanned Aerial Vehicle/Remotely Piloted Vehicle (UAV/RPV).

-- UAV/RPV will provide critical targeting capabilities, such as: penetration of enemy defenses, survey of the reverse slopes' of the mountainous North Korean terrain, reconnaissance of target areas, and real- time reporting of battlefield information to commanders and fire support officers.

GE 9 epf506

-- The requirement for such a capability is illustrated by the problem of locating and neutralizing North Korean hardened artillery sites (HARTS). These heavily fortified sites are vulnerable to attack only when the enemy's artillery is deployed for firing. UAV/RPV would be able to take advantage of this window. Information Management. Two areas of USFK concern are:

FY90 Automation Cap. The automation cap for FY90 has severely limited our automation capabilities, completely eliminated the purchase of new computer hardware, and forced the reduction of civilian personnel spaces.

-- The net effect will be to hamper our ability to provide timely information to the combat and combat support activities of this command.

-- If this limitation continues, the inefficiencies of old systems or the need to return to manual operations will undermine USFK's combat readiness posture.

Korea Digitalization and Reconfiguration. This initiative will increase the current fiber optics communications capability within Korea by providing digital communications in some areas and backup communication capability in others. The resulting improvements in command, control, and communications will enhance our warfighting capability.


The U.S.-ROK economic/trade relationship is strong and growing stronger. Considerable progress has been made in addressing the trade deficit, as well as in resolving a number of difficult bilateral trade issues.

In 1989, total trade between Korea and the U.S. reached nearly 40,000 million dollars.

Korea's bilateral trade surplus with the U.S. totaled about 5,200 million dollars in 1989, 40 percent less than the 8,700 million dollar surplus recorded in 1988 and 45 percent less than 1987.

U.S. exports to Korea increased about 24 percent to 16,000 million dollars in 1989, following a 45 percent increase in 1988. Korean exports to the U.S. actually declined slightly in 1989.

In 1988 and 1989, some long-standing trade disputes were resolved. Last May saw the successful conclusion of "Super 301" negotiations. This agreement, when fully implemented, has the potential for providing significant benefits to U.S. exporters and investors.

U.S. officials will closely monitor developments in Korea's protection of U.S. intellectual property rights, work closely with Korean government official to ensure the full and timely implementation of the "Super 301" and other bilateral agreements, and generally encourage further liberalization by the Korean government.


* PAGE 10 PAGE 10 epf506

We are now seeing the basic changes in the international environment that our grand strategy was designed to foster. While we must be flexible enough to take advantage of these changes, it is far too early to "declare victory" on the Korean Peninsula and abandon the approach that has maintained the peace and served basic U.S. interests for so long.

U.S. strategy and policy toward Northeast Asia and Korea has been consistent and successful for 37 years. The nations of the region are too well armed and are too divergent politically, economically, and culturally to expect continued peace and stability absent U.S. leadership and security guarantees.

The ROK represents a resounding success for U.S. postwar strategy and policy. Our military presence reinforces that success by maximizing deterrence against a dangerous and unpredictable adversary.

Reducing tensions and transitioning to a less threatening political environment in Northeast Asia will require artful statecraft, backed by credible military power. USFK, by providing such power, remains essential to peninsula and regional stability.

Adjustments to USFK as presently structured and deployed should be evolutionary, strategically and tactically sound, and follow, rather than anticipate, a lessening of the threat.

Unilateral cuts would ignore geopolitical realities, weaken deterrence, jeopardize alliance solidarity, lessen U.S. influence, possibly lead to an intensified arms race, undercut democracy and stability in the ROK, and constitute false economies.

Verifiable, mutual and balanced force reductions should be vigorously pursued via South-North political dialogue. Within this context, U.S. (and ROK) forces can be safely reduced.

(end text)


File Identification:  02/09/90, EP-506
Product Name:  Wireless File
Product Code:  WF
Document Type:  TXT
Thematic Codes:  140; 1DE
Target Areas:  EA
PDQ Text Link:  128052

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list