South Korea Meets Trump’s Demand to Pay More for U.S. Troops

South Korea Signs Deal To Pay More For US Troops After Trump's Demand

The allies also missed the December 31 deadline in 2013, but they managed to reach a deal a few weeks later when South Korea agreed to increase its contribution by 5.8 percent, with a 4-percent cap on the inflation rate.

On the campaign trail, Trump promised American voters he would fight to secure fair deals for the United States on the world stage. The signed agreement is called "preliminary" as of now since it needs to be approved by South Korea's National Assembly.

Unlike past agreements, which lasted for five years, this one is scheduled to expire in a year, potentially forcing both sides back to the bargaining table within months.

"It has been a very long process, but ultimately a very successful process", South Korea's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha told reporters before another official from the foreign ministry initialled the agreement.

Prior to the signing, Betts paid a courtesy visit to Kang on behalf of the U.S.to brief them of the details of the agreement.

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"United States government realizes that Korea does a lot for our alliance and peace and stability in the region", said chief us negotiator Timothy Betts.

South Korea insists it pays a fair share of the some $2 billion per year needed to keep the troops in the country, with funds mainly used for salaries of almost 9,000 local employees who provide food and administrative services, and other logistical needs.

The two countries have been in a security alliance since the 1950-53 Korean war, which ended with an armistice rather than a peace treaty - with more than 28,000 United States troops stationed in the South to guard against threats from Pyongyang. President Donald Trump has said South Korea should pay more.

The administration had demanded the South Koreans pay $1.2 billion, but Seoul balked at that amount. Yonhap said the USA had previously demanded 1.13 trillion won ($1 billion) from South Korea.

The allies worked to finalize an agreement in order to minimize the impact on South Koreans working on USA military bases, and focus on nuclear talks ahead of a second U.S.

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Seoul said Sunday it agreed to hike its payment for maintaining American troops on its soil, settling a dispute with its longtime ally ahead of a second summit between the United States and North Korea. Seoul's Foreign Ministry said the USA had called for a sharp increase in South Korean spending but didn't elaborate.

United States Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, and Marines have been stationed in South Korea for over half a century, and the requirement for a robust alliance has never been greater.

South Korea resisted increased spending but was concerned President Trump might put USA troop withdrawal on the table, or offer to scale back joint military exercises with the South even further, when he meets with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un in Vietnam later this month - especially if the second Trump-Kim summit paves the way for a formal declaration of peace in the Korean War. The two leaders held their first unprecedented meeting in June a year ago in Singapore.

Major joint exercises have been suspended, but some small-scale drills have continued, earning rebukes from North Korea's state media in recent months.

Vietnam welcomed the news, expressing confidence in its readiness to host the second Trump-Kim meeting. The spokesman, Kim Eui-kyeom, also confirmed that officials from Pyongyang and Washington plan to meet next week in an unspecified Asian country.

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