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

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



Officials have signed a short-term agreement to boost South Korea's contribution toward the upkeep of U.S. troops on the peninsula, after a previous deal lapsed amid U.S. President Donald Trump's call for the South to pay more.


Having U.S. troops on the ground just became more expensive for South Korea.

On Sunday (February 10), it signed a new short-term agreement with Washington which boosts Seoul's contribution towards the upkeep of American troops.

SOUTH KOREAN FOREIGN MINISTER, KANG KYUNG-WHA, SAYING:

"I think at this point, we will be able to close the gap on the total amount of the number."

Since his Singapore meeting with Kim Jong Un in June, U.S. President Donald Trump has been pressuring Seoul to pay more for American soldiers.

In the aftermath of the summit, he even announced he'd stop joint military exercises with South Korea, saying they're much too expensive.

U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING:

"We will be saving a tremendous amount of money, plus I think it's very provocative."

That sparked tension between Seoul and Washington.

Since their previous deal lapsed, the two have struggled to reach a breakthrough over how much the South should pay and it's taken 10 rounds of talks since March.

Last month, a senior South Korean official said negotiations were deadlocked after the U.S. made a sudden and "unacceptable" demand that Seoul pay more than a billion dollars per year.

That sparked fears among analysts and lawmakers that Trump could potentially pull some of his troops from the South, something he's done in other countries like Syria.

The new deal still needs to be approved by the country's parliament but the South will end up paying tens of millions of dollars more than 2018.

ACTING DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECURITY AND SENIOR ADVISOR FOR SECURITY NEGOTIATIONS AND AGREEMENTS IN THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE'S, TIMOTHY BETTS, SAYING:

"We realize, the United States' government realizes that Korea does a lot for our alliance and for peace and stability in this region."

But unlike past deals, which would hold for five years, the new one is due to expire in 2020.

That may force both sides back to the bargaining table within months. (Reuters)

U.S. Marines from 3rd Marine Expeditionary force deployed from Okinawa, Japan, cover themselves in snow with South Korean marines during a winter military training on January 8, 2015 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk


U.S. Marines from 3rd Marine Expeditionary force deployed from Okinawa, Japan, cover themselves in snow with South Korean marines during a winter military training on January 8, 2015 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk


A South Korean marine takes part in a winter military training on January 8, 2015 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk


Officials have signed a short-term agreement to boost South Korea's contribution toward the upkeep of U.S. troops on the peninsula, after a previous deal lapsed amid U.S. President Donald Trump's call for the South to pay more.


Having U.S. troops on the ground just became more expensive for South Korea.

On Sunday (February 10), it signed a new short-term agreement with Washington which boosts Seoul's contribution towards the upkeep of American troops.

SOUTH KOREAN FOREIGN MINISTER, KANG KYUNG-WHA, SAYING:

"I think at this point, we will be able to close the gap on the total amount of the number."

Since his Singapore meeting with Kim Jong Un in June, U.S. President Donald Trump has been pressuring Seoul to pay more for American soldiers.

In the aftermath of the summit, he even announced he'd stop joint military exercises with South Korea, saying they're much too expensive.

U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING:

"We will be saving a tremendous amount of money, plus I think it's very provocative."

That sparked tension between Seoul and Washington.

Since their previous deal lapsed, the two have struggled to reach a breakthrough over how much the South should pay and it's taken 10 rounds of talks since March.

Last month, a senior South Korean official said negotiations were deadlocked after the U.S. made a sudden and "unacceptable" demand that Seoul pay more than a billion dollars per year.

That sparked fears among analysts and lawmakers that Trump could potentially pull some of his troops from the South, something he's done in other countries like Syria.

The new deal still needs to be approved by the country's parliament but the South will end up paying tens of millions of dollars more than 2018.

ACTING DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECURITY AND SENIOR ADVISOR FOR SECURITY NEGOTIATIONS AND AGREEMENTS IN THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE'S, TIMOTHY BETTS, SAYING:

"We realize, the United States' government realizes that Korea does a lot for our alliance and for peace and stability in this region."

But unlike past deals, which would hold for five years, the new one is due to expire in 2020.

That may force both sides back to the bargaining table within months. (Reuters)

U.S. Marines from 3rd Marine Expeditionary force deployed from Okinawa, Japan, cover themselves in snow with South Korean marines during a winter military training on January 8, 2015 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk


U.S. Marines from 3rd Marine Expeditionary force deployed from Okinawa, Japan, cover themselves in snow with South Korean marines during a winter military training on January 8, 2015 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk


A South Korean marine takes part in a winter military training on January 8, 2015 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk
Choi Won-suk wschoi@koreatimes.co.kr


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