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Thu Feb 11, 2021, 02:12 AM

US and South Korea nearing agreement on cost sharing for American troops

US and South Korea nearing agreement on cost sharing for American troops
By Kylie Atwood, Nicole Gaouette and Oren Liebermann, CNN

Updated 6:48 PM ET, Wed February 10, 2021


Washington (CNN)Washington and Seoul are narrowing in on a new cost-sharing agreement for US forces in South Korea and could be just weeks away from striking a deal, according to five sources familiar with the discussions.

The deal taking shape is likely to be a multi-year agreement that increases Seoul's contribution to cover the presence of US troops at around the 13% increase South Korea had suggested in 2020 as their best possible offer, according to two sources familiar with the talks. The final agreement could include mandated increases in South Korea's defense budget, as well as an understanding that Seoul will make certain military equipment purchases, one of the sources said.

Negotiations over the Special Measures Agreement, or SMA, badly strained the US alliance with South Korea during the Trump administration after the former President demanded Seoul pay up to 400% more for the presence of the 28,500 troops on the peninsula.


More:

https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/10/politics/us-south-korea-cost-sharing-troops/index.html

Moon Jae-in is a single term president according to the Korean constitution, so he isn't facing "an election this year." The US diplomatic team isn't going to get any support from Seoul for "ongoing pressure measures" against North Korea or a positive response to US demands to "get on the same page." These were also failed Trump approaches. The fact that they are brought up shows they have no consideration for the South Korean diplomatic perspective or the nature of the current administration in South Korea. It isn't a US colony. The notion the National Assembly will accept "mandated increases in South Korea's defense budget" is an odd approach. South Korea contributes more as a share of its GDP to defense than any other US ally. Mandating budget increases from their elected government doesn't sound right.

Just to make something clear, the South Korean administration had no objections to Trump's personal diplomacy (with North Korea) until the Hanoi debacle.

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