US walks out of defence cost talks: Seoul | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 20, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 20, 2019

US walks out of defence cost talks: Seoul

The United States walked out of talks on hiking South Korea’s contribution for American troops on its soil, Seoul said yesterday, as Washington accused its ally of rebuffing a “fair and equitable” agreement.

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly demanded the South pay more towards the costs of the 28,500 troops Washington stations in the South to defend it against the nuclear-armed North.

Seoul officials say Washington is seeking $5 billion from its treaty partner next year -- a fivefold increase -- raising concerns the issue will undermine their alliance.

The latest round of talks broke down in Seoul yesterday “because the US side walked out first”, said Jeong Eun-bo, the South’s chief negotiator.

His US counterpart James DeHart said Washington had “cut short” the meeting to give Seoul “some time to reconsider”.

“Unfortunately, the proposals that were put forward by the Korean team were not responsive to our request for fair and equitable burden-sharing,” DeHart told reporters.

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