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Seoul Balks At U.S. Demand For Significant Increase In Payments For Maintaining American Troops

Source: Reuters

January 24 2019

South Korea

Talks between South Korea and the United States on sharing the cost of American troops deployed on the peninsula have broken down, reports Reuters. 

The U.S. has asked for South Korea to increase its contribution by 50 percent, a South Korean lawmaker said on Tuesday. 

Washington wants Seoul to boost its spending from US$848 million to US$1.2 billion for the roughly 28,500 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea, the lawmaker said. 

The two sides are attempting to negotiate a deal to replace a 2014 agreement that expired in 2018. 

A second lawmaker said that Seoul would not pay more than 1 trillion won (US$884 billion) and wanted a five-year agreement rather than a one-year deal that is reportedly sought by the U.S. 

No deal has been reached in 10 rounds of talks convened since March.

The U.S. Defense Dept. has warned of possible furloughs for Korean workers if an agreement is not reached by April.  

About 70 percent of Seoul's contribution covers salaries for South Korean employees at U.S. military facilities on the peninsula. 

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