US, S.Korea defense chiefs disagree on base cost

US, S.Korea defense chiefs disagree on base cost

Feb 25, 2020

Washington DC (USA), Feb 25: The US and South Korea have failed to agree on Seoul's share of the cost to host US troops, during a meeting of defense ministers.
US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo met on Monday at the Pentagon.
After the meeting, Esper told reporters, "Shouldering the cost of the common defense cannot fall disproportionately to the American taxpayer."
He added that requiring allies to increase their share is a priority issue for the US.
Jeong indicated that Seoul is prepared to increase its burden. But he emphasized the difference in their acknowledgement of the large hike demanded by the US.
Negotiations on the issue between the two countries have remained in a deadlock.
Esper said he hopes they can reach an agreement by the end of March, but if not the US will furlough South Korea workers on April 1.
The two defense chiefs also explained that they are considering scaling back some joint military exercises this spring due to concerns about the new coronavirus.
Source: NHK World