The US military remains the most powerful fighting force on Earth. Its forces are deployed across every continent. And they have long been viewed as the guarantors of peace in Western Europe and Southeast Asia.
But that kind of military power doesn’t come cheaply. And for too long, the US has been funding the lion’s share of its overseas deployments.
US President Donald Trump has made it a priority to get other nations to stump up more money to pay for its military presence, as well as increasing their own defence spending.
And Trump’s push is paying off.
Seoul agrees to up their contribution to US troop deployment
According to RAW, a short-term agreement was signed by officials, which increases South Korea’s current contribution towards the 28,500 troops deployed on the peninsula.
The US has maintained a military presence in South Korea since the Korean War in the early 1950s. With such a heavy influence in the region, Trump has been calling for funding that is greater than the 40% contribution to the cost of deployment that was previously agreed upon.
While his request for double the contribution amount wasn’t achieved, Trump’s administration did manage to secure a boost in South Korea’s input from 960 billion won in 2018 to 1.03 trillion won this year (equivalent to AU$1.3 billion).
It’s a year-long agreement that will undergo renegotiation leading up to its expiry. But this is suitable considering the ‘rapidly changing situation on the Korean Peninsula’, as outlined by the statement issued by Seoul’s Foreign Ministry.
South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha commented on the lengthy rounds of negotiation leading up to this agreement, saying ‘It has been a very long process, but ultimately a very successful process’.
Kang also added that the response to the new deal had ‘been positive so far’.
10 rounds of negotiations reach a decision
Timothy Betts, senior advisor of security negotiations and agreements for the US State Department, says this added funding represents an important part of South Korea’s support for their alliance.
‘The United States government realises that South Korea does a lot for our alliance and for peace and stability in this region. We are very pleased our consultations resulted in agreement that will strengthen transparency and deepen our cooperation and the alliance,’ he said.
So, in spite of the picture the mainstream media paints of the US–Seoul negotiations, they did indeed result in a positive mutual agreement.
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