United States and South Korea agreement “in principle” on sharing troop cost

Vastavam web: The United States and South Korea have reached an agreement “in principle” on sharing the cost of stationing U.S. troops in the Asian country, the State Department said on Monday. “The United States and the Republic of Korea have reached an agreement in principle on a new Special Measures Agreement,” a spokeswoman said. “Both sides are committed to working out remaining technical issues as quickly as possible.”

CNN quoted an State Department official as saying that under the revised agreement, South Korea would boost its financial contribution to nearly $1 billion. U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly said that South Korea, where the United States has stationed soldiers since the 1950-53 Korean War, should bear more of the cost.

Yonhap said the two sides were expected to seal the deal as early this week. Its source attributed the compromise to the allies’ efforts to focus on diplomacy with North Korea ahead of a second U.S.-North Korea summit planned for later this month. South Korean officials have said Seoul had sought to limit its share to $1 trillion won ($891 million) and make the agreement valid for at least three years.

A senior legislator in South Korea’s ruling party said last month that negotiations were deadlocked after the United States made a “sudden, unacceptable” demand that South Korea pay more than 1.4 trillion won ($1.25 billion) per year. The U.S. military warned Korean workers on its bases they might be put on leave from mid-April if no deal was reached.

Trump announced a halt to joint exercises with South Korea in June after his first meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, saying they were expensive and paid for mostly by the United States.