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Trump pushes Seoul to pay $4.7 bn for US forces stationed in South Korea



The Trump administration has demanded Seoul to pay USD 4.7 billion to cover the cost of US servicemen stationed in South Korea and maintain armaments in the region, the state media reported on Thursday.

A report published in the South Korean daily Chosun Ilbo, cited by Sputnik news agency, stated that the money demanded by the US, however, partially covered the defence costs.

Quoting State Department senior adviser for security negotiations, James DeHart, the report also stated that US President Donald Trump wanted Seoul to contribute more to the defence provided to it by Washington.

The newspaper noted there were concerns that Washington might withdraw its forces from South Korea if Seoul did not pay the defence cost.

Meanwhile, South Korea maintains that making such payments would require parliamentary ratification. Moreover, parliamentarians would not be able to monitor defence activities outside the country.

Earlier this week, DeHart and David Stilwell, the assistant US Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs, visited South Korea to discuss defence cost-sharing.

After a meeting between Stilwell, Robert Abrams, the commander of the US Forces in South Korea, and President Moon Jae-in's deputy national security adviser Kim Hyun-Chong, the presidential administration said that the South Korean official had "explained our stance [on the pact] and defence cost-sharing, and the US repeatedly stressed that the Korea-US alliance served as the 'linchpin' of security in Northeast Asia", the report said.

Washington has repeatedly called on its defence allies across the to boost its military spending, citing large US contributions.

There are currently around 25,000 US troops stationed in South Korea, alongside various equipment. The sides have been engaged in talks on cost-sharing.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Thu, November 07 2019. 15:09 IST