South Korean officials agree to increase payment for presence of US troops after Trump push


South Korean officials on Sunday signed off on an agreement that would increase the nation’s contribution to cover the cost of keeping U.S. troops on the Korean Peninsula.

The Associated Press reported that Seoul agreed to provide $924 million in 2019, an increase from $830 million in recent years. The agreement comes after President Trump criticized the cost of keeping troops on the Korean Peninsula, and called for South Korea to contribute more.

The new agreement still requires approval from South Korea’s parliament, the AP noted. Unlike past cost-sharing deals, which lasted multiple years, the new agreement would only be for one year, forcing negotiators to hammer out a new pact in the coming months, it added.

{mosads}South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said feedback for the agreement has been “positive so far,” but acknowledged some pushback, the AP reported.

Trump, who has been a vocal critic of other nations failing to contribute for U.S. military presence around the world, highlighted the cost of keeping troops in South Korea during an interview earlier this month.

“It’s very expensive,” he said on “Face the Nation” on CBS. “But I have no plans, I’ve never even discussed removing them.”

The new payment agreement comes weeks before Trump is set to meet for a second time with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Trump will travel to Hanoi, Vietnam for the summit on Feb. 27-28.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in spoke regularly with Trump before and after his first summit with Kim last June.

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