Trump administration, South Korea fail to reach agreement on troop costs

Trump administration, South Korea fail to reach agreement on troop costs

Trump administration and South Korean officials were unable to reach an agreement this week on Seoul's contribution to hosting thousands of U.S. troops ahead of the current deal’s expiration on Dec. 31, according to Reuters.

South Korean legislators said the U.S. is seeking more than a fivefold increase over the amount their nation has agreed to pay, up to $5 billion annually, the news service noted. President TrumpDonald TrumpCaitlyn Jenner says election was not 'stolen,' calls Biden 'our president' Overnight Health Care: FDA authorizes Pfizer vaccine for adolescents | Biden administration reverses limits on LGBTQ health protections Overnight Defense: US fires 30 warning shots at Iranian boats | Kabul attack heightens fears of Afghan women's fates | Democratic Party leaders push Biden on rejoining Iran deal MORE has frequently claimed South Korea reaps profits from the presence of U.S. troops.


U.S. and South Korean diplomats also failed to reach a deal by the end of 2018, but were able to secure a retroactive agreement early in 2019.

“The two sides have expanded their understanding of each other through many discussions despite differences in their positions on various issues, and decided to continue close consultations,” South Korea’s foreign ministry said in a statement, saying its diplomats emphasized the necessity of “fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable agreements.”

The idea of Seoul paying more is broadly unpopular among South Koreans, with only 4 percent of residents saying their leaders should meet U.S. demands, according to Reuters, which cited data from the Chicago Council of Global Affairs. However, nearly three-quarters of South Korean respondents said they support stationing U.S. troops in the country long term.

Failure to reach a deal by the deadline could also affect Korean civilians who work for the U.S. military and could be forced into unpaid leave, Reuters noted.