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Trump reiterates allies should pay for all costs for U.S. troop presence

All News 04:57 July 23, 2016

WASHINGTON, July 22 (Yonhap) -- Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said Friday that he wants the U.S. to continue defending other countries as long as they pay for the cost of troop presence, arguing that it makes no sense to pay to defend rich nations.

"You look at the military where it's so depleted, but we're taking care of other nations. And I want to continue to take care of other nations, there are a lot of good things about that, but they have to pay us. They have to pay us," Trump said at a meeting with volunteers for the Republican National Convention.

"We're protecting everybody in the world. I mean, we're protecting all these nations, and these are rich nations," he said. "Japan, they send their cars, they make a fortune, and then they don't pay us the amount that it costs. I don't want to make a profit. I want costs, pay us what it costs."

Unless the cost is paid, Trump said, "You have to be prepared to walk. You have to."

Trump sees U.S. security commitments overseas as a cumbersome burden sucking up taxpayer dollars, and making allies pay up for an American troop presence has been one of the top foreign policy priorities for the billionaire real-estate tycoon.

Such a stance sparked strong criticism from experts, but he hasn't backed down.

South Korea currently pays about half the costs, about US$900 million a year, to help finance the troop presence, and U.S. officials, including new U.S. Forces Korea Commander Vincent Brooks, said it would cost more to keep those troops stationed in the U.S. than it does in Korea.

"And then the general gets up and the general says, 'Mr. Trump is wrong, doesn't he understand that Japan pays us 50 percent of the cost of defending them?'" Trump said, apparently mistaking USFK commander Brooks for commander of U.S. forces in Japan.

"Oh, great. They say, 'Mr. Trump, could we have a comment?' I said, 'Yeah, why aren't they paying 100 percent,' Right?" Trump said, adding that the U.S. also keep troops in Germany and South Korea, where he said "we have 28,000 soldiers."

"And think of this one, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia wouldn't be there for one week if we pulled out. They have nothing but money. Nothing but money. They have so much money, they -- they don't know what to do with it, OK. They don't know what to do with it," Trump said.


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