Advisor DeHart arrived in Seoul on November 5. Photo: Yonhap.

US wants South Korea to pay nearly $ 5 billion in 'protection fees'

Washington demanded that Seoul spend $ 4.7 billion to maintain US troops and weapons stationed in South Korea, the media reported.

James DeHart, a US State Department adviser in charge of security negotiations, put the $ 4.7 billion in a meeting with South Korean parliament officials on November 7 and said it was only a small part of the spending. defense costs are spent by Washington, according to the sheet Chosun Ilbo Korean.

"President Donald Trump wants Seoul to contribute more to US forces stationed in Korea," adviser DeHart said during the meeting. The US believes that talks on sharing defense spending with South Korea will be the standard for similar dialogues with Japan, Germany and NATO.

Advisor DeHart arrived in Seoul on November 5. Image: Yonhap.

However, South Korean officials say defense spending must be approved by the country's parliament. The amount of Washington required is 5 times higher than in previous years and Seoul is hard to meet this requirement, according to South Korea's National Assembly Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Yoon Sang-hyun.

The US maintains about 28,500 garrison and a variety of modern weapons in South Korea to ensure its security. Since March 2018, the two countries have conducted 10 rounds of talks on sharing military costs in the context of President Trump repeatedly calling for South Korea to increase financial contributions to the US garrison.

About 70% of Seoul's contributions are now used to pay 8,700 South Korean employees working in the fields of administration, engineering and other services for the US military. By the end of 2018, the US military warned it would force these South Korean employees unpaid leave if the two sides failed to reach a new "protection fee" agreement.

Vu Anh (Follow Choson Ilbo)

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