Biden follows in recent presidential footsteps with Super Bowl interview By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: American and South Korean flags at Yongin South Korea

By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – South Korea will enhance its contribution to the price of U.S. forces stationed within the nation underneath an settlement reached with the United States, the State Department mentioned on Sunday, easing an irritant in ties between the 2 allies.

The settlement displays the Biden administration’s “commitment to reinvigorating and modernizing our democratic alliances around the word to advance our shared security and prosperity,” a State Department spokeswoman mentioned.

The proposed six-year “Special Measures Agreement” will exchange the earlier association that expired on the finish of 2019.

The spokeswoman mentioned the settlement included a “negotiated meaningful increase in host nation support contributions,” however gave no additional particulars. There are about 28,500 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea. More than 90% of Seoul’s contributions underneath the earlier settlement went instantly again into the South Korean financial system, the spokeswoman added.

The negotiations had been gridlocked after former U.S. President Donald Trump rejected Seoul’s provide to pay 13% extra, for a complete of about $1 billion a yr, and demanded as a lot as $5 billion. Seoul at present pays Washington about $920 million a yr.

The deal should nonetheless be authorised by the South Korean legislature. South Korea’s Foreign Ministry confirmed an settlement in precept in an announcement, however supplied no specifics.

“Both sides will make a public announcement and maintain a tentative signing ceremony after finishing inner reporting procedures. The authorities will resolve to signal an settlement in a swift method to resolve its vacuum that has lasted greater than a yr and contribute to strengthening the alliance,” the ministry added.

President Joe Biden has vowed to revitalize U.S. alliances after 4 years of strains underneath Trump and construct a united entrance to counter the challenges posed by Russia, China and Iran.

South Korea started paying for the U.S. troop presence within the early Nineteen Nineties, after rebuilding its war-devastated financial system. The two nations signed a treaty of mutual protection on the finish of the 1950-1953 Korean War, which supplied the idea for the stationing of U.S. forces in South Korea.

Washington reached settlement final month with Japan on its contribution for the stationing of U.S. forces there, preserving Tokyo’s annual prices regular at about $1.9 billion

South Korea’s chief envoy, Jeong Eun-bo, advised reporters on Thursday that his nation was in search of to iron out remaining variations and signal a take care of Washington on sharing prices for stationing American troops.

Jeong made the remark as he arrived in Washington for the primary face-to-face talks with U.S. envoy Donna Welton since Biden’s administration took workplace in January.

After the final pact expired, some 4,000 South Koreans working for the U.S. navy had been positioned on unpaid depart, prompting the 2 nations to scramble for a stopgap settlement to allow them to return to work.

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