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Trump wants allies to bear burden, pay fair share: security adviser

All News 00:34 August 29, 2020

WASHINGTON, Aug. 28 (Yonhap) -- The United States wants its allies to pay their fair share when it comes to defending their common values, the U.S. national security adviser said Friday, amid a deadlock in talks with South Korea on how much the latter should pay for hosting U.S. troops.

Robert O'Brien, assistant to President Donald Trump for national security affairs, said the U.S. president contends it cannot just be the U.S. writing the checks.

"We want to make sure that our allies bear the burden and pay their fair share when it comes to defending the global commons, when it comes to defending the alliance," O'Brien said in a webinar hosted by the Atlantic Council, a U.S. think tank based in Washington. "It can't just be the U.S. anymore."

Seoul and Washington have held a series of negotiations since late last year to set South Korea's share under a burden-sharing scheme, known as the Special Measures Agreement.

The talks resumed earlier this month after what Assistant Secretary of State Clarke Cooper, in charge of the Political-Military Affairs Bureau at the State Department, called a "pause."

Seoul has offered to increase its annual contribution by 13 percent from the US$870 million it paid under last year's agreement. Washington, on the other hand, seeks a 50 percent spike to $1.3 billion per year. That is down considerably from its initial demand of $5 billion.

The U.S. currently maintains about 28,500 service members in South Korea.


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