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South Korea signs new deal to pay U.S. more for troop presence

12 February 2019

According to Reuters, South Korean officials wanted to cap spending at one trillion won (the new total works out to 1.03 trillion) and sign a three-year agreement, while the usa wanted 1.4 trillion won.

A senior South Korean ruling party legislator said last month that negotiations were deadlocked after the United States made a "sudden, unacceptable" demand that Seoul pay more than 1.4 trillion won per year. The first-ever DPRK-U.S. summit was held between Kim and Trump in Singapore in June a year ago. But the two sides also agreed to a one-year agreement instead of the usual five-year timeframe, so negotiators will have to return to the table soon.

"The U.S. government realizes that Korea does a lot for the alliance and for peace and stability of this region", Betts said. That's 8.two percent more than Seoul contributed last year, reflecting a rise in South Korea's defense budget this year.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and Timothy Betts, the top US delegate to the Special Measures Agreement talks, appeared at a signing ceremony.

When the negotiations began a year ago, Washington had asked South Korea to finance "operational support" that would have covered the deployment of strategic assets, an official from the Foreign Ministry here explained.

Upon review from the presidential office and the Legislation Ministry, the tentative pact is expected to be submitted to the National Assembly for approval sometime around April, before it can take effect. "We will have to deal with them, but I think at this point we were able to close the gap on the total amount". "But it's an important part and we are pleased that our consultations resulted in an agreement that I think will strengthen transparency and strengthen and deepen our cooperation in the alliance".

In his annual State of the Union address to Congress on Tuesday, Trump said he would meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on February 27-28 in Vietnam, following their unprecedented meeting in June 2018 in Singapore.

South Korea on Sunday signed a provisional deal to raise its contribution for US troops in the nation by 8.2 percent.

Speaking to his top aides, ... he said the second Kim-Trump meeting will be a step forward on the path to denuclearization.

South Korea has agreed to substantially increase its contribution to cover the cost of keeping US troops in that country.

In order to ensure that the Alliance remains ready to "Fight Tonight", defend the Korean Peninsula, and (if necessary) defeat North Korea, South Korea and the United States prioritize the development and deployment of a wide array of military assets.

Trump has complained that maintaining troops in South Korea is too expensive and said in the past that he would like to bring them home.

The big United States military presence in South Korea is a symbol of the countries' alliance, forged in blood during the war, but also a source of long-running anti-American sentiments.

Yonhap said the USA had previously demanded 1.13 trillion won (US$1 billion) from South Korea. The two sides had also difficulty on the final amount, as the Trump administration reportedly demanded an annual sum of around one billion dollars when the negotiations were close to an end late previous year.

South Korea signs new deal to pay U.S. more for troop presence