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Crucial That South Korea Increases Burden Sharing for US Military - Defence Secretary Esper

CC BY 2.0 / Capt. Shannon Collins / 100427-F-6393C-080Two F-16 Fighting Falcons pilots with the 8th Fighter Wing's 80th Fighter Squadron, Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea
Two F-16 Fighting Falcons pilots with the 8th Fighter Wing's 80th Fighter Squadron, Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea - Sputnik International
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Washington and Seoul agreed to discuss sharing the cost to maintain 28,500 US troops earlier this year, as the Americans allegedly wanted to request their ally pay almost $5 billion under a renewed cost-sharing deal in 2020, a fivefold increase of the 2018 payment.

During a Friday meeting with South Korean Defence Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo, US Defence Secretary Mark Esper stated that Seoul should increase its burden sharing for the American forces stationed in the country, stressing the deal that is now being negotiated, should be fair and mutually agreeable.

According to him, the bonds between the two nations are very strong, but South Korea is a wealthy country and should increase its defence spending.

​Esper also noted that both allies have to remain flexible with their plans on joint military exercises in order to support their diplomatic efforts with North Korea.

South Korea previously agreed to increase its contribution to the United States Forces Korea (USFK) to $923 million in 2019, up from the $830 million Seoul provided in 2018.

US President Donald Trump, who has been urging American allies across the world to contribute more money to their own defence, thereby easing pressure on Washington, wanted Seoul to spend $4.7 billion next year to cover the cost of servicemen in the peninsula.

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