South Korea signs new deal to pay USA more for troop presence

South Korea signs new deal to pay USA more for troop presence

South Korea signs new deal to pay USA more for troop presence

In the agreement approved in Seoul, South Korea will pay $890 million for 28,000 US forces, up from $870 million, Yonhap News Agency reported.

South Korea signed a provisional agreement to pay around 1.04 trillion won this year for the stationing of U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) troops here, a rise of 8.2 percent year-on-year.

At their first meeting in Singapore past year, the notoriously unpredictable US president had made a shock decision to suspend US-South Korea military drills.

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.

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

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President Moon Jae-in expressed high hopes for the upcoming North Korea-U.S. summit.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, right, and Timothy Betts, acting Deputy Assistant Secretary and Senior Advisor for Security Negotiations and Agreements in the U.S. Department of State, shake hands for the media before their meeting at Foreign Ministry in Seoul, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019.

The new arrangement, pending ratification by the South Korean parliament in April, would increase Seoul's share of the cost by a little over 8 percent to $924 million in US dollars.

South Korea began paying for the USA military deployment in the early 1990s, after rebuilding its economy from the devastation of the 1950-1953 Korean War.

The deal - which must still be ratified by South Korea's National Assembly - resolves a dispute between the longtime allies at a crucial time, with a second U.S. The U.S. originally asked Seoul to pay about $1 billion. "We will have to deal with them, but I think at this point we were able to close the gap on the total amount". "We are very pleased our consultations resulted in agreement that will strengthen transparency and deepen our cooperation and the alliance". He also has insisted that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members increase their contributions, and the issue is expected to arise soon in Japan in talks on funding the 50,000 US troops based there.

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Trump told CBS' "Face the Nation" last Sunday that he has no plans to withdraw troops from South Korea.

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. Late past year, the US military had warned the South Korean employees on its bases that they may be put on leave from mid-April if no agreement was reached. "But, you know, it's very expensive to keep troops there". The big USA 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.

Late a year ago, the United States military warned Korean workers on its bases they might be put on leave from mid-April if no deal was agreed.

"The South Korean leader also pointed out, the peace process that started previous year is making progress in bringing the Peninsula closer to peace and prosperity".

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