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

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 new payment agreement comes weeks before Trump is set to meet for a second time with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

A senior South Korean ruling party legislator said last month that negotiations were deadlocked after the U.S. made a "sudden, unacceptable" demand that Seoul pay more than 1.4 trillion won per year.

The administration had demanded the South Koreans pay $1.2 billion, but Seoul balked at that amount.

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.

The South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that Meari, which it described as "one of the North's propaganda outlets", insisted in a column Monday that Washington owes "corresponding practical action" to North Korea in exchange for "active and preemptive efforts" like not bombing Japan since 2017. -South Korea alliance "without producing any tangible results on denuclearization".

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (L) with President Donald Trump at the start of their historic summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore on June 12, 2018.

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The comment by David Malpass, under secretary of the US Treasury for worldwide affairs, came after Hong Nam-ki, the minister of economy and finance, asked the World Bank to play a leading role in providing assistance for development of North Korea in case there is meaningful progress on denuclearisation. The two are believed to be scheduled to discuss a path to denuclearizing North Korea and, thus, allowing for the formal end of the Korean War, technically ongoing since 1950.

The disagreement had raised the prospect that Trump could decide to withdraw at least some troops from South Korea, as he has in other countries like Syria.

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. The two leaders held their first unprecedented meeting in June past year in Singapore. The United Nations Security Council, with minimal opposition from China, responded with strict sanctions on several of North Korea's largest industries, including coal and seafood. The signing ceremony for the deal was held Sunday afternoon at the foreign ministry in Seoul by both countries' negotiators, Chang Won-sam and Timothy Betts. Situated at the epicenter of one of the world's most geopolitically volatile regions, the Korean Peninsula is of particular strategic importance to US policy and posture across East Asia.

About 70 percent of South Korea's contribution covers the salaries of some 8,700 South Korean employees who provide administrative, technical and other services for the US military.

Late past year, the USA military warned Korean workers on its bases they might be put on leave from mid-April if no deal was agreed.

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