SEOUL, South Korea – South Korea and the USA struck a brand new deal Sunday growing the share of Seoul’s contribution for the price of the U.S. army presence on its soil, official mentioned, after earlier rounds of failed negotiations brought on worries about their decades-long alliance.
Final yr, South Korea supplied about $830 million, roughly 40 p.c of the price of the deployment of 28,500 U.S. troopers whose presence is supposed to discourage aggression from North Korea. President Donald Trump has mentioned South Korea ought to pay extra.
On Sunday, chief negotiators from the 2 international locations signed a brand new cost-sharing plan, which requires South Korea to pay about 1.04 trillion gained ($924 million) in 2019, Seoul’s Overseas Ministry mentioned in a press release.
It mentioned the 2 international locations reaffirmed the necessity for a “secure” U.S. army deployment amid “quickly altering state of affairs on the Korean Peninsula.” The ministry mentioned the U.S. assured South Korea that it has stable safety dedication for its ally and that it has no plans to readjust the scale of its troops’ stage in South Korea.
“We notice, the USA authorities realizes that Korea does quite a bit for our alliance and peace and stability within the area,” chief U.S. negotiator Timothy Betts mentioned in Seoul. “We’re very happy our consultations resulted in settlement that may strengthen transparency and deepen our cooperation and the alliance.”
The allies had failed to achieve a brand new cost-sharing plan throughout some 10 rounds of talks. A five-year 2014 deal that lined South Korea’s cost final yr had expired on the finish of 2018.
Some conservatives in South Korea voiced issues over a weakening alliance with the USA amid a stalemate in negotiations with North Korea to deprive it of its nuclear weapons. They mentioned Trump would possibly use the failed army cost-sharing negotiations as an excuse to drag again a few of U.S. troops in South Korea, as a bargaining chip in talks with North Korean chief Kim Jong Un.
Trump advised CBS’ “Face the Nation” final Sunday that he has no plans to withdraw troops from South Korea. Throughout his election campaigning, Trump urged he might pull again troops from South Korea and Japan except they took larger monetary burdens to help U.S. troops deployed there.
South Korea media earlier reported Trump demanded South Korea double its spending for the U.S. army deployment earlier than his authorities ultimately requested for 1.13 trillion gained ($1 billion). Seoul’s Overseas Ministry mentioned the U.S. had referred to as for a pointy improve for South Korean cost however did not elaborate.
Trump introduced final week that he’ll sit down with Kim for a second summit in Hanoi, Vietnam in late February. Their first summit in Singapore final June resulted in Kim’s obscure dedication to “full denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” a time period that his propaganda machine beforehand used when it argued it could solely denuclearize after the U.S. withdraws its troops from South Korea.
The U.S. army arrived in South Korea to disarm Japan, which colonized the Korean Peninsula from 1910-45, following its World Warfare II defeat. Most U.S. troops had been withdrawn in 1949 however they returned the subsequent yr to struggle alongside South Korea within the 1950-53 Korean Warfare.
South Korea started paying for the U.S. army deployment within the early 1990s, after rebuilding its war-devastated financial system. The massive U.S. army presence in South Korea is an emblem of the international locations’ alliance, solid in blood through the warfare, but additionally a supply of long-running anti-American sentiments.
About 20 anti-U.S. activists rallied close to the Overseas Ministry constructing in Seoul on Sunday, chanting slogans like “No more cash for U.S. troops.” No violence was reported.
Related Press journalists Chang Yong Jun and Lee Jin-man contributed to this report.