A $5 billion demand to fulfill the cost of hosting American troops and tensions between South Korea and Japan that threaten to undermine regional cooperation is set to top the agenda when senior U.S. defense officers visit South Korea this week.
U.S. President’s insistence Seoul take on a better share of the cost of American army presence as deterrence against North Korea has examined South Korea’s confidence in the safety alliance with Washington.
Trump has halted the idea of pulling U.S. troops from the Korean peninsula, which stays in a state of war under a break that suspended the 1950-53 Korean War.
A South Korean legislator stated last week that U.S. delegates demanded up to $5 billion a year, more than five instances what Seoul agreed to pay this year under a one-year agreement, for posting the 28,500 U.S. troops.
Gen. Mark Milley, chairperson of the U.S. Joints Chief of Staff, stated the American public wanted a reason “wealthy” South Korea and Japan can’t defend themselves and why U.S. soldiers had been deployed there.
Milley, who was speaking to journalists en route to Tokyo Sunday, arrives in Seoul on Wednesday for the annual Military Committee Meeting.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper will visit from Thursday for the Security Consultative Meeting with South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo.
Randall Schriver, the assistant defense secretary, and Esper’s top Asia policy advisor mentioned the secretary didn’t intend to negotiate burden sharing, a job for diplomats, however, he would emphasize U.S. pursuits.
Trump has accused allies, including Japan, Germany, and NATO, of not shouldering their fair share of defense costs. Separate agreements for new defense cost-sharing offers between the U.S., and all three are set to start in 2020.