Seoul /Washington: The United States and South Korea have reached a cost-sharing agreement over the deployment of US troops in South Korea. Also, South Korea has agreed to pay a 13.9% amount furthermore. For the time in two decades, South Korea has agreed to increase the US Army’s expenditure. Currently, 28,500 US soldiers are deployed in South Korea.
Former US President Donald Trump had accused South Korea of taking advantage of US military strength at a lower cost. In 2019, Trump had demanded 5 billion dollars to South Korea for the expense of US soldiers and base. However, South Korea responded with fury. Hence, this created a strain between the two nations.
However, both nations continued to discuss this topic for over a year. Last week itself, US President Joe Biden and his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, held talks on this issue via virtual conference. This discussion included the discussion on cost agreement and also North Korea. Following this, the cost-sharing agreement concurred upon by both nations draws attention.
As per the new agreement, South Korea will pay 1.03 billion dollars to the US. Moreover, this agreement is only valid for the year 2021, and it will be renewed for the period 2022 to 2025. The amount to be paid to the United States will increase as per the South Korean Defence expenditure. As per the agreement decided on Tuesday, the cost will be raised by 5.4% in 2022, compared to this year.
‘The agreement signed on Tuesday has resolved the longest-ever vacuum that had lasted about a year and three months. It provided a chance to reaffirm the importance of the alliance and the need for the stable stationing of U.S. Forces in South Korea,” said South Korea’s chief negotiator, Jeong Eun-bo. He affirmed that the strain between the United States and South Korea has reduced.