U.S. to construct border wall with military funds for Korea

Matthew Vale, March 20, 2019, 9:33 a.m.

The U.S. Department of Defense has diverted funding for military operations in Korea to build U.S. President Donald Trump's wall along the border with Mexico.

Trump has had trouble getting funding for the controversial project due to opposition from Democrats, who have taken control of the House of Representatives, so he needs to cast around for money elsewhere.

The diversion of funds is raising fears of a further weakening of the Seoul-Washington alliance after they scrapped large-scale joint drills.

CNN on Tuesday published a 20-page report the Pentagon sent to Congress detailing areas of defense spending that will be appropriated for the border wall. It includes hundreds of defense-related projects around the world.

The U.S. government allocated a budget of US$4.3 billion for those projects in 2018, and $6.8 billion has been set aside for them this year. The list contains defense-related construction projects without a budget.

The construction projects in Korea mentioned in the report include a classified Theater Air Naval Ground Operations or "Tango" military bunker in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province and a drone hangar at an air base in Gunsan, North Jeolla Province. The Pentagon allocated $17.5 million for the "Tango" bunker this year and $53 million for the drone hangar last year.

In Japan, the only diverted funding listed is for a $10-million project at Kadena Air Base, but five U.S. bases in Germany are under review.

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