U.S. and South Korea agree on cost-sharing deal for troops

WASHINGTON — The USA and South Korea have reached settlement in precept on a brand new association for sharing the price of the American troop presence, which is meant as a bulwark towards the specter of North Korean aggression, each international locations introduced.

The State Division’s Bureau of Political-Army Affairs stated Sunday the deal features a “negotiated improve” in Seoul’s share of the fee, but it surely offered no particulars. The Bureau wrote on Twitter that the settlement, if finalized, would reaffirm the U.S.-South Korean treaty alliance as “the linchpin of peace, safety and prosperity for Northeast Asia.”

South Korea’s Overseas Ministry on Monday issued an analogous assertion, saying the 2 international locations are searching for to tentatively signal the deal. It stated the settlement got here after three days of face-to-face talks in Washington.

The U.S. retains about 28,000 troops in South Korea to assist deter potential aggression from North Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean Warfare. However how a lot South Korea ought to pay for the American navy presence was a thorny concern in bilateral relations below the Trump administration, which regularly requested its Asian ally to drastically improve its share.

In 2019, the allies struck a deal that required South Korea to pay about $924 million (1.04 trillion gained) for the U.S. troops presence, a rise from $830 million within the earlier yr. However negotiations for a brand new cost-sharing plan broke down over a U.S. demand that Seoul pay 5 instances what it beforehand had paid.

The State Division stated in a press release that the rise within the South’s share of the fee was “significant” however was no more particular.

The Wall Avenue Journal, which was first to report the settlement, stated it could final by means of 2025.

In its assertion, the State Division stated: “America’s alliances are an incredible supply of our power. This growth displays the Biden-Harris administration’s dedication to reinvigorating and modernizing our democratic alliances across the phrase to advance our shared safety and prosperity.”

Many conservatives in South Korea fearful that then-President Donald Trump may use failed cost-sharing negotiations as an excuse to withdraw some U.S. troops in South Korea as a bargaining chip in now-stalled nuclear talks with North Korean chief Kim Jong Un. The U.S. and South Korea had additionally halted or cancelled a few of their navy workout routines in recent times to assist the nuclear diplomacy, which ultimately fell aside because of disputes over U.S.-led sanctions on North Korea.

On Monday, the South Korea and U.S militaries kicked off annual navy drills that might final for 9 days. South Korea’s navy stated the drills are command put up workout routines and computerized simulation and don’t contain area coaching. It stated the allies reviewed elements just like the standing of Covid-19 and diplomatic efforts to renew the nuclear talks with North Korea when it determined to carry the drills.

The prospect for a brand new cost-sharing plan has been heightened because the Biden administration has been searching for to bolster its alliance with South Korean and different international locations.

South Korea started paying for the U.S. navy deployment within the early Nineteen Nineties, after rebuilding its financial system from the devastation of the Korean Warfare. The large U.S. navy presence in South Korea is a logo of the international locations’ alliance but additionally a supply of long-running anti-American sentiments.

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