Hello and welcome to the details of South Korea agrees to biggest increase in its share of cost for US troops in years and now with the details
Subscribe to our Telegram channel for the latest updates on news you need to know.
SEOUL, March 10 — South Korea has agreed to a 13.9 per cent increase in its contribution to the cost of hosting some 28,500 US troops for 2021, the biggest annual rise in nearly two decades after US calls for greater funding.
The increase under the multi-year pact takes South Korea’s contribution for 2021 to 1.18 trillion won (RM4.3 billion) and settles a long-running dispute that had strained ties between Seoul and Washington during Donald Trump’s presidency.
Even as he warmed to North Korea’s leader, Trump had accused ally South Korea of “free-riding” on US military might and demanded that it pay as much as $5 billion a year. Trump had rejected a similar first-year increase offered by Seoul during failed talks under his administration.
“The agreement resolved the longest-ever vacuum that had lasted about a year and three months,” South Korea’s chief negotiator, Jeong Eun-bo, told a televised briefing.
“It provided a chance to reaffirm the importance of the alliance and the need for stable stationing of US Forces Korea.”
A US State Department official portrayed the agreement as in line with new President Joe Biden’s calls “to reinvigorate our alliances”.
“In that spirit, one of friendship and seriousness about the challenges that we face ahead, we found a fair and equitable cost-sharing arrangement,” the official said, describing late night sessions in Washington to finalise the accord. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity.
American troops are deployed to South Korea in what is seen as a deterrent to Pyongyang that also sends a message to China about US influence and capability in Asia.
South Korea began paying towards the costs of US deployments - things like local labour and military construction - in the early 1990s after rebuilding its war-devastated economy.
The new, six-year Special Measures Agreement with the United States came after drawn-out negotiations and will boost South Korea’s annual contribution to the bill for 2022 to 2025 in line with its annual defence budget increase, which was 5.4 per cent this year, the foreign ministry said in a statement.
The pact replaces an arrangement that expired at the end of 2019, under which South Korea paid about US$920 million (RM3.8 billion) a year. Both sides agreed to freeze South Korea’s contribution for 2020, the ministry said.
In the last big increase in its contribution, South Korea in 2003 paid 17 per cent more than the previous year, according to data from a defence ministry white paper.
On the decision to link cost-sharing to the defence budget, the ministry said the increase in the defence budget was a “reasonable, verifiable indicator” that reflected financial and security capabilities.
But Shin Beom-chul, a security expert at the Research Institute for Economy and Society in Seoul, said aligning the two issues was a “mistake” for South Korea, one of the world’s largest defence spenders, and it could bring budget pressure.
With negotiations making little headway after the last pact expired, about half of some 9,000 South Koreans working for the US military were placed on unpaid leave, prompting the two sides to scramble for a stopgap deal to bring them back to work.
Jeong said the accord stipulated that in future, workers can get their existing salaries in the absence of a new deal.
The workers’ union welcomed the agreement, saying it would help ensure stable work conditions. Without it, thousands more workers would have been forced to take unpaid leave next month, the union said. — Reuters
These were the details of the news South Korea agrees to biggest increase in its share of cost for US troops in years for this day. We hope that we have succeeded by giving you the full details and information. To follow all our news, you can subscribe to the alerts system or to one of our different systems to provide you with all that is new.
It is also worth noting that the original news has been published and is available at Malay Mail and the editorial team at AlKhaleej Today has confirmed it and it has been modified, and it may have been completely transferred or quoted from it and you can read and follow this news from its main source.