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Trump says U.S.-S. Korea talks on defense payment begin

All Headlines 20:04 August 07, 2019

SEOUL, Aug. 7 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday that talks to get South Korea to increase its contribution to the upkeep of U.S. forces in the country have begun.

"South Korea is a very wealthy nation that now feels an obligation to contribute to the military defense provided by the U.S. The relationship between the two countries is a very good one," Trump wrote in a tweet.

Trump said Korea had agreed to pay substantially more to the United States in order to defend itself from North Korea. Since the 1950-53 Korean War, the U.S. has been paid very little by South Korea, but last year, at his request, Seoul paid US$990 million, he said.

His remark came ahead of U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper's visit to Seoul this week for talks on pending alliance issues, including Washington's demand for Seoul to increase its contribution to the cost of stationing 28,500 American troops here.

A South Korean foreign ministry official said late last month that when U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton visited Seoul in July the two sides agreed to conduct discussions in a "reasonable and fair" way on how to share the cost of the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) for next year.

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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