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Trump Pressures Seoul to Pay More for US Troops

Written: 2019-02-13 12:32:46Updated: 2019-02-13 19:32:46

Trump Pressures Seoul to Pay More for US Troops

Photo : YONHAP News

Anchor: U.S. President Donald Trump called for South Korea to increase its share of the cost for stationing American troops on the Korean Peninsula. Trump's remarks came only two days after the allies signed an agreement that will raise South Korea's contribution this year for maintaining the 28-thousand-500 U.S. troops by eight-point-two percent to about one-point-04 trillion won. 
Kim Bum-soo has more. 


[Sound bite: US President Donald Trump]
"South Korea, we defend them, and lose a tremendous amount of money... "

U.S. President Donald Trump is again pressuring South Korea to increase its share of the cost for keeping American troops on the peninsula. 

[Sound bite: US President Donald Trump]
"They agreed to pay yesterday $500 million dollars more toward their defense. 500 million dollars with a couple of phone calls, I said why didn't you do this before, they said nobody asked, so it's got to go up. It's got to go up."

During a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Trump referred to the new defense deal which increased Seoul's share of the financial burden by eight-point-two percent.

[Sound bite: US President Donald Trump]
"We have a great relationship and with President Moon we are doing great things and North Korea is coming along, South Korea is just an example, but South Korea is costing us five billion dollars a year and they pay and they were paying about 500 million dollars for five billion dollar worth of protection. And we have to do better than that, so they have agreed to pay 500 million dollars more and over the years it will start going up.” 

Trump's citing of a 500 million dollar increase does not match the terms of the actual deal, under which Seoul agreed to pay around 71 million dollars more than last year. Seoul this year will pay a total of about 920 million dollars.  
The latest hike, however, falls far short of Trump’s demand. Media reports said the American president initially wanted Seoul to double its payment.  

Trump indicated the deal with South Korea is a precedent that will be applied to other countries.

[Sound bite: US President Donald Trump]
" ...the same thing will go with Japan and same thing will go to Saudi Arabia and many others. We protect Saudi Arabia, they've got nothing but cash and we protect them with great subsidy."

This came just days after Seoul and Washington signed the one-year deal, a departure from the usual multi-year contracts signed by the two sides. Their negotiators will have to meet again later this year to discuss the thorny issue.   
Kim Bum-soo, KBS World Radio News.

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