At 00:00 local time on the 8th, due to the severe epidemic situation, South Korea officially raised the national social distancing and epidemic prevention level nationwide. On the same day, South Korean media exposed that the U.S. military in South Korea violated the epidemic prevention regulations on the 4th and held a dance in the base without masks, which aroused the concern of the South Korean people.
This is not the first time that the U.S. military in South Korea has committed a “headwind crime”. Under the epidemic prevention ban, people gathered people to party to party and party to party. The U.S. military in South Korea fouled as “light cars familiar with the road”.
Ineffective epidemic prevention in August and September, the third epidemic situation in South Korea intensified.
Since the outbreak of the third epidemic in South Korea in late November, the situation has become more and more serious. Yoon Tae-ho, head of the epidemic prevention umbrella team of the Central Emergency Response Headquarters of South Korea, said that from August to September, the spread of the virus in the daily life of residents was not effectively controlled at the peak of the “second wave” of the epidemic in the capital circle, which has triggered the “third group” of the epidemic.
According to Yonhap, the South Korean Disease Control Agency and several expert groups speculate that according to this trend, it is expected that the number of new confirmed cases in South Korea in a single day will reach 550-750 this week, and 900 or more next week.
△ Changes in the number of newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Korea in a single day (Image source: Worldmeter)
In order to deal with the epidemic, the South Korean government raised the epidemic prevention response levels in the capital and non-capital circles to 2.5 and 2, respectively, from 00:00 on the 8th, and further tightened the epidemic prevention measures for three weeks.
However, in the face of such huge epidemic prevention pressure and turbulent epidemic, the U.S. military in South Korea “take these epidemic prevention warnings as a deaf ear”.
The epidemic situation is serious, but the U.S. military in South Korea is adding fuel to the fire.
According to Yonhap News Agency, on December 4th, local time, the U.S. military in South Korea held a dance in the internal canteen of “Humphreys Barracks” in Pingsawa, south of Seoul. From the photos and videos uploaded by some participants on social networking sites, it can be seen that dozens of U.S. soldiers without masks were crowded at the dance, and dozens of U.S. soldiers without masks were close to each other. Hot dance, some people even hugged tightly.
On the one hand, there are reckless parties, and on the other hand, there is an increasingly severe epidemic situation. On the day of the dance, the South Korean government urged the public to cancel non-essential face-to-face gatherings, and the epidemic prevention mechanism in Seoul and surrounding areas had been upgraded to level 2, that is, to prohibit groups from carrying out indoor activities and hotels from holding annual meetings. South Korean media pointed out that the behavior of the U.S. military not only ignores the epidemic prevention policy of the South Korean government, but also violates the internal epidemic prevention regulations of the U.S. military in South Korea.
What’s more incredible is that the U.S. military in South Korea, which should have been responsible for helping the South Korean government and the military to provide military protection for South Korea, has entered South Korea due to the flow of people between the epidemic.
The U.S. military in South Korea has increased the pressure on epidemic prevention in South Korea. South Korea dares to be angry and dare not say anything.
The U.S. military confirmed on the 7th that 17 of the relevant personnel of the U.S. military who have arrived in South Korea in the past few weeks have tested positive for COVID-19, and the U.S. military has been tested positive for COVID-19 on many occasions before. As of the 7th, 408 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in South Korea.
South Korean officials have previously said that they are considering requiring the U.S. military and related personnel in South Korea to take virus testing before entering South Korea to dispel outside doubts. However, South Korea’s appeal did not have a substantial effect. The U.S. military claims that it has required soldiers and their families to board international flights only if they test negative for the virus, but this situation still happens.
“Extralegal Land” attracts people’s resentment. The unequal agreement on the garrison makes the South Korean side embarrassed.
The behavior of the U.S. military in South Korea was condemned by South Korean public opinion. The people demanded the expulsion of the U.S. military. Netizens left a message: “The U.S. military withdraw, what do you think of the Republic of Korea?” Strongly ask that they pay for their own costs related to COVID-19 treatment.”
Yonhap reported on the 8th that the South Korean government has required the U.S. military in South Korea to abide by the epidemic prevention code in accordance with the Agreement on the Status of the U.S. Army in South Korea, but will the U.S. military listen?
As early as July this year, American soldiers were reported by the public of wantonly setting off fireworks and firecrackers and fighting in the streets without masks at the Haiyuntai beach bathing in Busan, seriously disturbing the people. After the incident, only one person involved was fined 50,000 won (50$).
South Korean police are often helpless about the excessive behavior of the U.S. military. This is due to the unequal provisions of the Agreement on the Status of the U.S. Army in South Korea, which stipulates that the South Korean police have the right to detain and interrogate the U.S. military only when they commit 12 major evil acts such as killing, rape, drug trafficking, beating and death, and in addition to these circumstances, It must be returned to the United States first.
In short, the South Korean police have no right to pursue and enforce most of the violations of the U.S. military, making the U.S. military base in South Korea an “extralegal place”.
Take advantage of the fire to claim military spending, and withdraw troops without paying?
When the epidemic surges, the long-repressed contradiction between South Korea and the United States is also on the verge of breaking out. In March this year, the United States demanded $5 billion from South Korea for military spending during the global epidemic and the outbreak of South Korea, which was the highest in history, but South Korean President Moon Jae-in ignored this additional military expenditure. Even in April, the United States took more than 3,000 unpaid leave for the Korean U.S. military in an attempt to oppress Moon Jae-in’s government with the unemployment pressure of these mercenaries.
Although Moon Jae-in’s government has been tough for some time, defense is in the hands of the Americans after all, which led to many rounds of negotiations between the two sides on the sharing of military spending. South Korea once agreed to increase military spending by about 13% from $924 million in 2019, but the United States was not satisfied with this, repeatedly threatened to withdraw troops and lay off a large number of Korean employees. So far, the two sides have not reached an agreement on this.
According to U.S. media reports, the U.S. Pentagon has made a plan to reduce the number of U.S. troops in South Korea and has submitted it to Trump.
△ Yonhap News Agency: Biden vows not to blackmail South Korea with the threat of withdrawal of troops
On November 30, the United States and South Korea launched the 11th round of negotiations on the cost-sharing of South Korea and the United States’ defense. Analysis said that it may be difficult to reach an agreement during Trump’s term of office.
South Korea adhered to the formula of procrastination and said that it was ready to negotiate with the Biden administration. Previously, U.S. President-elect Biden published an op-ed in the South Korean media saying that “will not ‘tort ‘blackmail’ South Korea by withdrawing the U.S. military in South Korea”.
However, even if Biden can no longer pursue military spending from Moon Jae-in for strategic consideration in the Asia-Pacific region, the unequal provisions of the Agreement on the Status of the U.S. Army in South Korea are still put between South Korea and the United States.
According to the data released by the Central Epidemic Prevention and Response Headquarters of South Korea, as of 00:00 local time on the 9th, there were 686 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Korea, an increase of 92 cases over the previous day (594).
The cumulative number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Korea reached 39,432. In the coming weeks, the epidemic pressure in South Korea will remain huge.