South Korea-US military cost-sharing deal expires with no update in sight
Iran Press TV
Tue Jan 1, 2019 09:13AM
A deal between Washington and Seoul on sharing the cost of maintaining a US military presence in South Korea has expired, with no new agreement on the horizon amid a standoff between the two sides over President Donald Trump's demand for more South Korean contribution.
The five-year contract between Washington and Seoul, known as Special Measures Agreement, which outlines cost sharing for US forces in South Korea, expired on Monday.
The deal had required South Korea to pay $830 million per year for the cost of maintaining some 28,500 American troops stationed in the country.
Negotiations for the renewal of the contract, which began in March, are currently on hold as the two sides remain locked in a standoff over Trump's request for a 50-percent increase in South Korea's contribution, The Wall Street Journal reported last month.
According to the report, Trump is pushing for between $1.2 and $1.6 billion per year, but South Korean President Moon Jae-in has been resisting the demand.
During the latest round of talks last month, American negotiators suggested signing a one year contract, but Seoul is said to have rejected the idea.
Trump has reportedly called on Seoul to cover the cost of deploying new aircraft carriers and bombers.
The US has already deployed two Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) launchers to South Korea.
Back in October, he criticized Seoul for what he described as failing to finance the controversial deployment of the American missile system on the Peninsula.
Trump said at the time that Washington was "putting in a system that we pay for and it's going to cost a billion in order to protect an immensely wealthy country [South Korea] that makes all of your television sets, right?"
"Okay, so we're protecting South Korea, right? Why aren't they paying?" asked Trump.
The US is also reportedly considering engaging in military cost-sharing talks with Japan and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) this year.
Since taking office in January last year, and even before that, Trump has been calling on US allies to increase their military spending.
He renewed the call last week, as he was addressing US troops at an air base in western Iraq.
"I'm not only talking about in the Middle East. I'm talking about all over the world. Wealthy countries cannot expect the United States to pay for a vast majority of their military. They can pay us. They can reimburse us," he said.
On Monday, he wrote in a Twitter post that Washington was "substantially subsidizing the militaries of many very rich countries all over the world," and that its allies were taking advantage of the US and American taxpayers.
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