SEOUL (Reuters) – The US and South Korea have did not agree on a much bigger South Korean share of the price of sustaining U.S. troops, an official stated on Friday, because the U.S. army warned Korean staff they is likely to be placed on depart if no deal is reached.
FILE PHOTO: U.S. military troopers participate in a U.S.-South Korea joint river-crossing train close to the demilitarized zone separating the 2 Koreas in Yeoncheon, South Korea, April eight, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File Photograph
U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly stated that South Korea ought to bear extra of the burden for protecting some 28,500 U.S. troops in South Korea, the place the US has stationed forces because the 1950-53 Korean Struggle.
Senior officers from each side held three-day talks in Seoul from Tuesday to hammer out an accord to interchange a 2014 deal attributable to expire this yr, which requires South Korea to pay about 960 billion gained ($850 million) this yr.
Regardless of 10 rounds of negotiations since March, the 2 sides struggled to achieve an settlement after the US demanded a pointy improve, South Korean officers stated.
“We’ve come to settlement on virtually all components however couldn’t make it last due to variations on the overall scale of the deal,” a senior South Korean international ministry official instructed reporters on situation of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the difficulty.
The US initially pushed South Korea to extend its share of the burden to about $1.2 billion, The Wall Road Journal reported final week, citing unidentified sources.
South Korean officers haven’t publicly confirmed a greenback quantity, and U.S. Forces Korea didn’t have speedy remark.
South Korean officers have stated the US requested that South Korea pay for the mobilization of apparatus, akin to bombers, nuclear-powered plane carriers and submarines, throughout joint army workouts.
Trump introduced a halt to the workouts in June after a summit with North Korean chief Kim Jong Un, saying they have been very costly and paid for largely by his nation.
Some small-scale joint workouts have taken place since then, whereas main ones have been suspended as a part of efforts to expedite talks aimed toward ending North Korea’s nuclear program.
The South Korean official stated the 2 sides weren’t anticipated to satisfy once more this yr, elevating the danger of a funding hole.
Final month, U.S. Forces Korea warned South Korean staff a few of them might need to “furlough”, or go on depart, from mid-April if a deal couldn’t be reached.
About 70 p.c of South Korea’s contribution covers the salaries of some eight,700 workers who present administrative, technical and different providers for the U.S. army.
“We’re making efforts to attenuate any destructive influence which will have on the staff,” stated the ministry official.
Reporting by Hyonhee Shin; extra reporting by Josh Smith; Modifying by Robert Birsel