Trump once again demands increase in S. Korea defense cost contribution

Posted on : 2020-01-13 17:13 KST Modified on : 2020-01-13 17:13 KST
Calls SK a “rich country” and cites erroneous figures on Fox News interviewer
US President Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump has once again characterized South Korea as a “rich country” and said it needs to pay much more to station US troops. The remarks constitute overt pressure on Seoul leading up to the sixth round of negotiations aimed at updating the 11th edition of the two countries’ defense cost-sharing agreement, the Special Measures Agreement (SMA). This round of negotiations will be held in Washington on Jan. 14-15.

When asked about sending more troops to the Middle East in an interview on Fox News on Jan. 10, Trump said he’d told Saudi Arabia, “You’re a very rich country. You want more troops; I’m going to send them to you but you’ve got to pay us.” He went on to talk about South Korea: “They gave us US$500 million. I said you got to help us along. We have 32,000 soldiers in South Korea protecting it from North Korea. You've got to pay.”

“They build all your television sets. They took that away from us. They build the ships; they've built a lot of things,” Trump reiterated.

“I said, ‘Look, we're protecting you, you got to pay.’ [. . .] They're going to pay us a lot more,” Trump said, treating a massive cost-sharing increase as a fait accompli.

“US$500 million” and “32,000 soldiers in South Korea” are erroneous figures that Trump occasionally brings up. The amount by which South Korea agreed to increase its contribution in the 10th SMA, in February 2019, was 78.7 billion won (US$68.14 million), which is quite different from Trump’s reference to US$500 million. The actual size of the US troop presence in South Korea is around 28,500.

By Hwang Joon-bum, Washington correspondent

Please direct comments or questions to []

button that move to original korean article (클릭시 원문으로 이동하는 버튼)

Related stories

Most viewed articles