U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper pressed South Korea Friday to pay more for the price of stationing U.S. troops in the nation and to maintain an intelligence-sharing agreement with its other Asian associate Japan that Seoul is about to let slip.
Speaking after a high-level defense policy meeting with his South Korean equivalent Jeong Kyeong-doo, Esper also mentioned the two nations need to be flexible in changing their joint military drills to support ongoing diplomatic efforts to end North Korea’s nuclear program.
South Korea “is a wealthy nation and could and should pay extra” for the deployment of U.S. military within the South, Esper told a briefing in Seoul after meeting Jeong.
Jeong stated he and Esper shared the view that the cost-sharing agreement now being discussed should be fair and mutually agreeable, but it was unclear if they shared any sense of what a good amount might be.
The U.S. and South Korea are scrambling to clinch a settlement in the coming weeks to cowl subsequent yr’s prices of sustaining the 28,500-robust U.S. military presence in South Korea.
A South Korean lawmaker stated last week that U.S. officers demanded as much as $5 billion a year, over five times what Seoul agreed to pay this year under a one-year contract
U.S. President Donald Trump’s insistence Seoul take on a more significant share as deterrence against North Korea has disturbed South Korea. Also, it might set a precedent for upcoming U.S. discussions on defense cost-sharing with other associates.