South Korea signs short-term deal to pay more for U.S. troops


During his State of the Union address on February 5, President Donald Trump announced his second summit with Kim will be held in Vietnam on February 27-28.

Last month, a senior South Korean ruling party legislator said negotiations were deadlocked after the United States made a "sudden, unacceptable" demand that Seoul pay more than 1.4 trillion won ($1.2bn) per year.

Under a new cost-sharing agreement signed by South Korean and American negotiators on Sunday, Seoul will pay approximately $923 million in 2019, the South Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement cited by the Associated Press.

Kim Eui-kyeom, spokesman of South Korea's presidential Blue House, said on Sunday that President Moon Jae-in would discuss the upcoming summit with Trump "soon" and that USA and North Korean officials would be meeting in an unspecified Asian country next week.

Scholars took exception with the notion that the deal is being received with applause in South Korea.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in plans to discuss the upcoming summit with Trump soon, according to a spokesman from the Blue House.

Most US troops were withdrawn in 1949 but they returned the next year to fight alongside South Korea in the 1950-53 Korean war.

"South Korea has to think about the cost involved in keeping the deterrence at the level they would like, while the threat is clearly present", James Kim, global relations expert at the Asian Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul, told Sputnik Monday.

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Trump told CBS' "Face the Nation" last Sunday that he has no plans to withdraw troops from South Korea. Betts also said the pleased with the results, acknowledging Seoul's contribution to the alliance.

The late former North Korean leader Kim Il-sung, who's Kim Jong-un's grandfather, visited Hanoi two times in 1958 and 1964.

The approximately 8 percent increase in payments by South Korea to the United States is likely to check one of the boxes on US President Donald Trump's "to do" list.

The probability of the Olympic bid, however, relies on the state of North Korea's nuclear and ballistic program.

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

U.S. Forces Korea, the main command, said in its Strategic Digest that Seoul paid about 41 percent of the cost.

The agreement has yet to be ratified by South Korean lawmakers, which is a necessary step before the deal's terms go into effect, the BBC reported.

Late previous year, the US military had warned Korean workers on its bases they might be put on leave from mid-April if no deal was agreed.