S. Korea's parliament agreed Friday to pay a higher share of the cost to keep U.S. troops there, like Sgt. James Balestrini, shown here on a firing range in South Korea on Jan. 25, 2019. ALON HUMPHREY/U.S. ARMY
S. Korea's parliament agreed Friday to pay a higher share of the cost to keep U.S. troops there, like Sgt. James Balestrini, shown here on a firing range in South Korea on Jan. 25, 2019. ALON HUMPHREY/U.S. ARMY

South Korean parliament ratifies cost-sharing accord with US

by Kim Gamel
Stars and Stripes

SEOUL, South Korea — The South Korean parliament overwhelmingly voted to ratify a $915 million military cost-sharing deal with the United States on Friday, clearing the final hurdle more than three months after the previous pact expired.

The so-called Special Measures Agreement calls for an 8.2% increase in the amount South Korea pays to offset the expense of stationing some 28,500 U.S. troops on the divided peninsula. The agreement was to retroactively take effect from Jan. 1 and will remain in force until Dec. 31.

The new contract will only last one year as part of a compromise reached last month after the longtime allies failed to meet a Dec. 31 deadline when the previous, five-year version expired.

Talks stalled over U.S. demands that Seoul pay significantly more for its own defense. President Donald Trump’s administration reportedly insisted that South Korea and other allies pay the full cost of hosting American troops plus a 50% bonus.

Read more at: https://www.stripes.com/1.575803

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