South Korea should pay more for US troops by year’s end, Esper says

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, right, talks with South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo upon his arrival for the 51st Security Consultative Meeting at Defense Ministry in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. LEE JIN-MAN/AP
U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, right, talks with South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo upon his arrival for the 51st Security Consultative Meeting at Defense Ministry in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. LEE JIN-MAN/AP

South Korea should pay more for US troops by year’s end, Esper says

by Kim Gamel
Stars and Stripes

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea is a wealthy country and should increase its share of the cost for stationing some 28,500 U.S. troops on the divided peninsula by the end of year deadline, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Friday.

Esper also called on Seoul to reverse its decision to cancel a military intelligence sharing pact with Japan before the Nov. 23 expiration date. The United States fears the termination of the agreement will jeopardize security as North Korea has resumed weapons testing amid stalled nuclear talks.

Both issues have become major irritants in the longstanding alliance between the two countries, which fought together in the 1950-53 Korean War.

The South Koreans have bristled at the U.S. administration’s reported demand to increase Seoul’s share of the burden five-fold. The current contract, known as the Special Measures Agreement, expires at the end of the year.

Read more at: https://www.stripes.com/1.607416

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