US quits Seoul talks over US$5b troop bill

World | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 20 Nov 2019

The United States has walked out of talks on South Korea's contribution for American troops on its soil, with Washington accusing its ally of rebuffing a "fair and equitable" deal.

President Donald Trump has demanded Seoul pay more towards the cost of having 28,500 US troops in the South to help face North Korea.

Seoul officials say Washington wants US$5 billion (HK$38.9 billion) from its treaty partner next year - a five-fold hike.

The talks broke down in Seoul yesterday as "the US side walked out," said Jeong Eun Bo, the South's chief negotiator.

His US counterpart, James DeHart, said Washington "cut short" the session to give Seoul "time to reconsider."

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said last week that South Korea is wealthy "and could and should pay more to offset the cost of defense."

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