Under a 2014 deal which expired in 2018, South Korea was obliged to pay approximately US$960 billion a year for hosting 28,500 U.S. troops.
The South Korean government is negotiating a deal which would entail the continued presence of thousands of U.S. troops in its territory and paying close US$1 billion for it, according to a diplomatic source.
The United States army has held a constant presence in the Asian nation since the 1950-1953 Korean War. Under a 2014 deal which expired in 2018, South Korea was obliged to pay approximately US$960 billion a year for hosting 28,500 U.S. troops.
President Donald Trump has been insistent on the necessity of the U.S. reducing costs of maintaining those troops and Seoul bearing the brunt of them. This is part of a wider strategy to lessen the U.S. government’s cost of maintaining its hegemony across the world.
Another example of this is the White House attacks on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), formed by the U.S. government during the cold war to encircle the Soviet Union, all the while calling on the government to reduce budget spending.
Yonhap, a South Korean news agency, reported that Seoul and Washington D.C. are close to sealing a three-year accord which would oblige the Asian nation to pay under US$1 billion to pay for the continued presence of U.S. troops on its soil, according to a diplomat.
The U.S. envoy for North Korea is expected to hold talks with its counterpart on Wednesday in Pyongyang. In this context, the Trump administration has promised to halt joint military exercises with South Korea.
The negotiations have reportedly been stalled by what South Korean officials complained was a “sudden, unacceptable” demand by the U.S. government to force Seoul to pay US$1.25 billion a year for keeping the troops.
The United States first became involved in the war between South and North Korea in what President Harry S. Truman called a “police action,” with the aim of defending its interests in the peninsula against the Soviets. The Korean war took the lives of at least five million people. More than half of the casualties were Korean civilians. The United States military still exercises a similar type of “police influence” over South East Asia, although now its principal aim is to curtail the rise of China as a regional leader.