US, South Korea fail to reach cost-sharing deal after Trump criticism

The Trump administration and South Korea's government have reportedly failed to reach a new deal for sharing the cost of maintaining a U.S. military presence in the country following multiple rounds of negotiations.

Reuters reports that U.S. officials and South Korean counterparts were unable to agree upon a final arrangement after President TrumpDonald TrumpDOJ asks Supreme Court to revive Boston Marathon bomber death sentence, in break with Biden vow Biden looking to build momentum for Putin meeting DOJ tells media execs that reporters were not targets of investigations MORE's repeated demands of a sharp increase in South Korea's defense contributions.


“We’ve come to agreement on almost all elements but could not make it final because of differences on the total scale of the deal,” a senior South Korean official told reporters, speaking anonymously.

U.S. Forces in Korea responded, according to Reuters, writing that it was "unable to speculate on potential outcomes" due to the ongoing nature of negotiations with South Korea, while adding that it was seeking a "swift conclusion" to the discussions.

A 2014 deal with South Korea requires its government to pay about $850 million in defense spending to the U.S. per year. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Trump administration sought last week to see that figure rise past $1 billion this year.

Much of the contributions from South Korea goes towards salaries for roughly 8,700 South Korean employees who provide technical and other assistance to the U.S. military. A spokesman for South Korea's foreign ministry said that the government was working to make sure those staffers were unaffected by the negotiations.

“We are making efforts to minimize any negative impact that may have on the employees,” the official told Reuters.

The U.S. has scaled back military exercises in South Korea over the past year, citing the provocative nature of the drills and progress with South Korea's neighbor, North Korea, in historic bilateral negotiations.