South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, second from right, and US Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris, second from left, sign documents at Foreign Ministry in Seoul, South Korea, March 8, 2019. (AHN YOUNG-JOON, AP, POOL)
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea and the United States have signed a deal that would increase Seoul's financial contribution for the deployment of US troops in the Asian country.
Seoul's Foreign Ministry said in a statement the deal is expected to provide a "stable environment" for the US troop deployment and help strengthen the alliance between the two countries
After rounds of failed negotiations, chief delegates from the two countries last month agreed on Seoul paying about 1.04 trillion won (US$924 million) in 2019 for the US military presence, up from about US$830 million last year.
US President Donald Trump earlier pressured Seoul to increase its share, triggering worries in South Korea that he might withdraw some of the 28,500 US troops here if Seoul refused to accept his demand.
South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and US Ambassador Harry Harris signed the new cost-sharing deal on Friday.
Seoul's Foreign Ministry said in a statement the deal is expected to provide a "stable environment" for the US troop deployment and help strengthen the alliance between the two countries.
The deal, which involves the spending of South Korean taxpayer money, requires parliamentary approval in South Korea, but not in the United States. The deal will likely easily pass through South Korea's parliament as the main conservative opposition party highly values a stronger alliance with the United States.
The deal's signing came days after the two countries eliminated their huge springtime military drills and replaced them with a smaller training.
HONG KONG NEWS