U.S., South Korea agree ‘in principle’ on sharing troop cost: State Department
The U.S. and South Korea have reached a big-picture agreement on the sharing of costs for U.S. troops stationed in the country. “The United States and the Republic of Korea have reached an agreement in principle on a Special Measures Agreement,” announced a spokesperson. “Both sides are committed to working out remaining technical issues as quickly as possible.” Under the agreement, South Korea will increase its contribution to just under $1 billion USD. The agreement may only be set for one year, instead of five years like previous deals. This is likely a compromise, as it appears that South Korea has appeared to hold ground on its demands to keep their portion of the funding under $1 billion. Under the recently-expired 2014 deal, the country payed $848 million per year to support the 28,500 troops in the country (although 70% of the contribution covers the 8,700 South Korean employees who provide support services to the U.S. military). Reaching a deal on the issue relieves some of the pressure between the two countries, whose continuing differences in this and other matters has strained ability to cooperate closely on North Korea, Japan, and other regional issues.