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US’ Esper Says South Korea Pay More for U.S. Soldiers

U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper pressed South Korea Friday to pay more for the price of stationing U.S. troops…

By Luann Reagan , in Industry News News , at November 15, 2019 5:19 AM EST Tags: , ,

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.