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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Trump Pushes Seoul to Pay Nearly 50% More for American Troops

KBS World Radio

Write: 2020-05-08 13:18:23

Anchor: Seoul and Washington are failing to agree on how much they should each pay for the upkeep of American troops on the Korean Peninsula. Seoul proposed that it can raise its contribution by 13 percent, but the U.S. is asking for a nearly 50-percent hike. U.S. President Donald Trump and his officials on Thursday went all out to put Seoul in a corner.
Kim Bum-soo has more.


[Sound bite: US President Donald Trump]
"South Korea has agreed to pay substantial money to us, which we appreciate very much. And we ask countries to help us... "

U.S. President Donald Trump is pressing Seoul to increase its spending for the upkeep of American troops on the Korean Peninsula by nearly 50 percent.

During a White House event on Thursday, Trump brought up the thorny issue again.

[Sound bite: US President Donald Trump]
"It costs us a lot of money. Our military budget is three times more, and even four times more than the second-largest spender of money. All right? It's more than that. Four times more, plus. And if we're going to defend countries, they should also respect us by making a contribution."

The comments came as a White House official confirmed that Trump is demanding Seoul pay one-point-three billion dollars annually to maintain some 28-thousand-500 U.S. troops in Korea. That's 49 percent more than Seoul agreed on during the last defense cost talks.

During an online forum hosted by the Centers for Strategic and International Studies(CSIS) earlier this week, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary Marc Knapper said it's time for Seoul to show some flexibility.

[Sound bite: Marc Knapper - deputy assistant secretary of state for Korea and Japan]
"Of course our leaders have spoken recently and will continue to look for ways to sit down and talk. I really am afraid I can't get into too much detail in terms of where we are. We're always saying we don't want to negotiate this in public. Suffice to say that I think we believe our side has been very flexible up until now and we're looking for some flexibility on the part of the Korean side too. "

The two sides' one-year deal expired at the end of last year. Seoul is said to have offered a 13-percent hike, which Trump rejected.

A Foreign Ministry official in Seoul said the defense burden sharing should be mutually acceptable.
Kim Bum-soo, KBS World Radio News.

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