United States president Donald Trump has turned down a sum offered by South Korea in response to his demand that the country contribute more to the cost of US military forces deployed there.
“Now they’ve offered us a certain amount of money and I’ve rejected it”, Trump said on Monday, adding that Seoul was paying about a $1 billion a year towards the cost of stationing between 28,000 and 32,000 US troops there.
“We are defending a wonderful nation. We are asking them to pay for a big percentage of what we’re doing. It is not fair”, Trump said, and added:
“So it is not a question of reduction. It’s a question of will they contribute toward the defense of their own nation. We’re defending nations that are very wealthy. South Korea’s a very wealthy nation – they make our television sets, they make ships, they make everything”.
South Korean officials said that the US had demanded up to $5 billion a year, about five times the $896 million Seoul agreed to pay in 2019 for hosting the 28,500 American troops.
“What’s going to happen I can’t tell you, but we’ll find out fairly soon,” Trump said, adding that he congratulates South Korean President Moon Jae-in on his party’s landslide victory in recent parliamentary elections.