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South Korea signs new deal to pay USA more for troop presence

South Korea signs new deal to pay USA more for troop presence

The US president and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are expected to discuss an official declaration to end the decades-old war - a prelude to a peace treaty - at their second summit in Hanoi later this month.

Seoul contributed around 960 billion won a year ago - more than 40 percent of the total bill - financing the construction of American military facilities and paying South Korean civilians working on United States bases.

The compromise calls for South Korea to pay 1.0389 trillion won, or $920 million, this year to offset the cost of maintaining some 28,500 American troops, officials said.

But on Sunday, South Korea's foreign ministry said in a statement that the United States had affirmed it would not be changing the scale of its troop presence.

The deal - which must still be ratified by South Korea's National Assembly - resolves a dispute between the longtime allies at a crucial time, with a second U.S. "We will have to deal with them, but I think at this point we were able to close the gap on the total amount".

Trump told CBS' Face the Nation last Sunday that he had no plans to withdraw troops from South Korea.

Citing officials at South Korea's presidential Blue House, Yonhap also reported that South Korean President Moon Jae-in would discuss the upcoming summit with Mr Trump "soon", and that U.S. and North Korean officials would be meeting in an unspecified Asian country ahead of the summit.

South Korea signs deal to pay more for US troops
After Trump’s Demand, South Korea Signs Deal to Pay More for US Troops

Prior to the signing, Betts paid a courtesy visit to Kang on behalf of the U.S.to brief them of the details of the agreement.

About 28,500 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea, where the U.S. has maintained a military presence since the 1950-1953 Korean War. "But it's an important part, and we are very pleased that our consultations resulted in an agreement", Betts said.

The two leaders held their first summit last June in Singapore.

"South Korea has to think about the cost involved in keeping the deterrence at the level they would like, while the threat is clearly present", James Kim, global relations expert at the Asian Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul, told Sputnik Monday. President Donald Trump has said South Korea should pay more. The North and its main backer, China, also would like to see the US military presence removed from their doorstep.

Trump, who has been a vocal critic of other nations failing to contribute for US military presence around the world, highlighted the cost of keeping troops in South Korea during an interview earlier this month.

But Trump told U.S. broadcaster CBS last week that he had "no plans" to remove U.S. troops from South Korea as part of a deal at the upcoming summit, although he admitted "maybe someday" he would withdraw them, adding: "It's very expensive to keep troops there".

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