South Korea signs short-term deal to pay more for U.S. troops

Saul Bowman
February 13, 2019

They said Trump might use the failed military cost-sharing negotiations as an excuse to pull back some of U.S. troops in South Korea, as a bargaining chip in talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

A senior South Korean ruling party legislator said last month that negotiations were deadlocked after the USA made a "sudden, unacceptable" demand that Seoul pay more than 1.4 trillion won per year. US officials demanded as much as $1.2 billion per year.

South Korea will pay $60 million more for the upkeep of US troops on its territory-this after President Donald Trump demanded that Seoul boost its contribution.

The United States, meanwhile, reaffirmed the need for a "stable US military deployment" and offered assurances that it has no plans to change the number of forces on the divided peninsula, the Foreign Ministry said in a press release.

Scholars took exception with the notion that the deal is being received with applause in South Korea.

After this meeting in Pyeongyang, the director of North Korea's State Affairs Commission, Kim Chang-son, could make his way to Hanoi. for a look around the venue just like he did before the Singapore summit.

South Korea signs deal to pay more for US troops

Vietnam's foreign minister has arrived in North Korea ahead of a planned summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam's capital later this month. "We will have to deal with them, but I think at this point we were able to close the gap on the total amount".

The disagreement had raised the prospect that Trump could decide to withdraw at least some troops from South Korea, as he has in other countries like Syria. He also has insisted that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members increase their contributions, and the issue is expected to arise soon in Japan in talks on funding the 50,000 USA troops based there. Most U.S. troops were withdrawn in 1949 but they returned the next year to fight alongside South Korea in the 1950-53 Korean War. "But it's an important part, and we are very pleased that our consultations resulted in an agreement", Betts said.

The next round of annual joint military exercises, called Key Resolve/Foal Eagle, is due to be held in the spring, although officials have said they won't announce a date until after the Vietnam summit. The two men are expected to deliberate on the denuclearization of North Korea.

U.S. Forces Korea, the main command, said in its Strategic Digest that Seoul paid about 41 percent of the cost.

That's 8.two percent more than Seoul contributed last year, reflecting a rise in South Korea's defense budget this year. The South and the USA have shared the costs for the USFK since 1991, and renewed the contract every two to five years.

Late previous year, the US military had warned the South Korean employees on its bases that they may be put on leave from mid-April if no agreement was reached.

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