The Wall Street Journal reported Friday (local time) that U.S. President Donald Trump wants South Korea to pay double for American troops stationed in South Korea. Some speculate that Trump is trying to stir up public sentiment before the 10th round of negotiations on how to shoulder defense cost with South Korea to be held in Seoul from Tuesday to Thursday.
The WSJ reported that Trump believes South Korea should pay a lot more to the U.S. troops in Korea, and wants it to pay 1.6 billion dollars per year for five years. Other news outlets reported that Washington is putting pressure Seoul to increase the cost by 1.5 times. This year, South Korea paid 960 billion won for the 28,500 U.S. troops in Korea, which includes Korean labor cost in the U.S. army, military construction and joint defense projects and military support cost.
Diplomacy experts say that Trump will try to carry through the cost increase by utilizing its power over economic cooperation between the two Koreas such as acknowledging exceptions in North Korea sanctions and automobile tariff exemption.
Washington and Seoul started a new round of negotiations in March to reach a new agreement. They reportedly have made significant progresses in the meeting held in Hawaii for four days on November 13. But it seems difficult to complete the negotiations within this year as what was agreed needs to go through processes such as the national assembly’s ratification of the agreement.
Na-Ri Shin firstname.lastname@example.org