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Thread: South Korea says troop talks deadlocked as U.S. demands 'unacceptable' funding increase

  1. #1

    South Korea says troop talks deadlocked as U.S. demands 'unacceptable' funding increase

    The United States and South Korea are struggling to narrow differences over the share of the cost of maintaining U.S. troops after a U.S. demand for a 50 percent increase in the South's contribution, a South Korean lawmaker said on Tuesday.Despite 10 rounds of talks since March, the allies have failed to strike an accord to replace a 2014 deal that expired last year, which requires South Korea to pay about 960 billion won ($848 million) a year for keeping some 28,500 U.S. troops there.
    U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly said that South Korea, where the United States has stationed soldiers since the 1950-53 Korean War, should bear more of the cost.
    The U.S. military has warned Korean workers on its bases they might be put on leave from mid-April if no deal is reached.
    At their last meeting, in December, the United States made a "sudden, unacceptable" demand that South Korea pay more than 1.4 trillion won per year, about 1.5 times its current contribution, according to Hong Young-pyo, a senior ruling party legislator.
    Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha briefed a group of lawmakers on the talks on Monday. Any deal is subject to parliamentary approval.
    "The negotiations were deadlocked," Hong told a meeting with lawmakers. "The U.S. side suddenly made a proposal at the last stage which was difficult for us to accept."
    A spokesman at the U.S. embassy in Seoul declined to comment.
    When asked about the U.S. demand on Monday, Kang declined to specify numbers but said there was a "very big difference" in the positions between the two countries.
    "We'll work to reach an agreement that's reasonable, affordable and explainable to the National Assembly and the people," Kang told reporters.
    Kang Seok-ho, another lawmaker who attended the foreign minister's briefing, said the government's stance was not to pay more than 1 trillion won a year and an agreement should be valid for five years, not one year as reportedly sought by the United States.


    With another meeting not scheduled, the stalemate raises concerns about the funding gap and the posture of the 70-year alliance amid signs of a rift over North Korea policy.
    About 70 percent of South Korea's contribution covers the salaries of some 8,700 South Korean employees who provide administrative, technical and other services for the U.S. military.
    Trump announced a halt to joint exercises with South Korea in June, after a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, saying they were very expensive and paid for mostly by his country.
    Major joint exercises have since been suspended, which Washington said would expedite talks aimed at getting North Korea to give up its nuclear program, though some small-scale exercises have continued.
    U.S. Ambassador Harry Harris met South Korea's national security advisor Chung Eui-yong late last month to urge a swift agreement, warning that the United States may consider implementing the defense treaty "in a different way", South Korea's Dong-A Ilbo newspaper reported on Tuesday, citing an unidentified diplomatic source.

    More at: https://news.yahoo.com/south-korea-s...093646459.html

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  3. #2
    The prospect of getting a deal before an April 15 deadline seems poor, according to a South Korean official familiar with the talks. South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s negotiators have sought help from people outside the direct talks, including U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, said the official, who asked not to be named due to sensitivities of the discussions.
    A State Department spokesperson said Friday that South Korea must contribute “significantly more” more than has offered to achieve what the administration believed was a fair balance of costs. The administration is asking all its allies to offset the cost of U.S. deployments overseas, said the official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
    The dispute is among several issues weighing on the relationship as Trump -- a frequent critic of the 70-year-old alliance -- prepares for a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un next month. In recent weeks Kim has made demands that would weaken the military readiness of the allies, including seeking the removal of U.S. “strategic assets” from the region and an end to joint drills.
    “My main concern is a possible perfect storm where Trump’s desire to withdraw troops will be reinforced, if he is misled to believe he can trade them for North Korean nuclear weapons and if the allies can’t settle defense cost negotiations before the next Trump-Kim summit,” said Duyeon Kim, an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. “This would be an immediate crisis for South Korea that trumps North Korea’s nuclear weapons threat.”
    The cost-sharing dispute was among the security issues left unresolved when former Secretary of Defense James Mattis resigned on Dec. 20, citing differences with Trump over the value of alliances. The pact, which lasts five years and requires legislative approval by both nations, expired 11 days later.
    While the U.S. doesn’t detail South Korea’s contribution to the deployment, American officials have said Seoul subsidizes about half of its local personnel costs. South Korea said it paid an estimated 960 billion won ($849 million) last year, financing the construction of U.S. military facilities and paying South Korean civilians who work at military posts.
    With the deal about to expire, the U.S. suddenly requested 1.4 trillion won ($1.2 billion) from South Korea, lawmaker Hong Young-pyo, the Democratic Party’s floor leader in the National Assembly, told ruling party officials Monday. “It is undesirable that one country’s unilateral demand undermines its ally’s trust and causes divisions,” Hong said.
    The real crisis won’t hit until April 15 when South Korea is scheduled to start paying civilian personnel.

    More at: https://news.yahoo.com/trump-apos-sp...054401842.html
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  4. #3
    South Korea and the United States struck a new deal Sunday that increases Seoul's contribution for the cost of the American military presence on its soil, overcoming previous failed negotiations that caused worries about their decades-long alliance.The development comes as President Donald Trump is set to hold his second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam in late February.
    South Korea last year provided about $830 million, covering roughly 40 percent of the cost of the deployment of 28,500 U.S. soldiers whose presence is meant to deter aggression from North Korea. Trump has pushed for South Korea to pay more.
    On Sunday, chief negotiators from the two countries signed a new cost-sharing plan, which requires South Korea to pay about 1.04 trillion won ($924 million) in 2019, Seoul's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

    The deal, which involves the spending of South Korean taxpayer money, requires parliamentary approval in South Korea, but not in the United States, according to Seoul's Foreign Ministry.

    More at: https://news.yahoo.com/south-korea-u...062342990.html
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  5. #4
    That's an absurd amount of money annually to keep troops there. Why wouldn't we just save all the money and bring them home? How about we start there in regards to cutting spending and restoring the middle class?

  6. #5
    Unlike past agreements, which lasted for five years, this one is scheduled to expire in a year, potentially forcing both sides back to the bargaining table within months.

    More at: https://news.yahoo.com/south-korea-s...060413911.html
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  7. #6
    This would have been a great news headline for MAGA in a normal news cycle but unfortunately this historic news is getting overshadowed by the Friday shutdown deadline drama and Enquirer-Bezos blackmail scandal news.

  8. #7
    They are behaving just like the Mafia does want protection? just pay up.

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by AngryCanadian View Post
    They are behaving just like the Mafia does want protection? just pay up.
    We aren't going to burn them down if they don't pay.
    I think Trump intends to keep upping the our demands until they refuse and then bring the troops home when the new agreement runs out next year.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment



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