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South Korea signs short-term deal to pay more for USA troops
13 February 2019, 01:44 | Glen Norman
South Korea signs deal to pay more for US troops
On the campaign trail, Trump promised American voters he would fight to secure fair deals for the United States on the world stage.
The South Korean Parliament has to approve the agreement before it becomes final. Bargaining for 2020 funding is likely to restart in months.
South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said feedback for the agreement has been "positive so far", but acknowledged some pushback, the AP reported. On Sunday, Seoul's Foreign Ministry said the countries signed a short-term agreement.
"The two countries reaffirmed. the importance of a strong South Korea-US alliance and the need for a stable stationing of the US troops", it said in a statement issued after a signing ceremony.
About 70 percent of South Korea's payment funds the salaries of some 8,700 South Korean workers who provide administrative, technical, and other services for the US military.
Late previous year, the U.S. military had warned South Korean workers on its bases they might be put on leave from mid-April if no deal was agreed.
The allies struggled to reach a breakthrough despite 10 rounds of talks since March, amid Trump's repeated calls for a sharp increase in South Korea's contribution.
Hong said South Korea is behind Malpass.
The nationwide survey of 501 South Koreans found about 62.5 percent of respondents optimistic about the prospects for settling "the North Korean nuclear problem", while 35.2 percent said the summit would weaken the U.S.
The report also said supporters of liberal and moderate political parties across all regions and age groups below 60 held optimistic sentiments about the summit's outcome, while those who backed conservative parties were mostly negative.
As the Pyeongyang-Washington summit is set to be held in Hanoi, Vietnam's foreign minister and senior diplomats visit North Korea to discuss protocol matters.
The United States, meanwhile, reaffirmed the need for a "stable USA military deployment" and offered assurances that it has no plans to change the number of forces on the divided peninsula, the Foreign Ministry said in a press release.
The new payment agreement comes weeks before Trump is set to meet for a second time with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Trump surprised Seoul and many of his own aides when he announced after his first summit with North Korea on June 12 that he was suspending joint war games with South Korea, which he called "very expensive" and "provocative". The United States is hoping to get a firm commitment on denuclearization from Kim. After the meeting, Trump suspended major joint military exercises with South Korea.
According to the Chosun Ilbo newspaper, the unidentified administrator of the official Paekhwawon guesthouse in Pyongyang was found guilty of corruption after the ruling Workers' Party's Organization and Guidance Department conducted a raid on his property in October, on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's orders. "We will have to deal with them, but I think at this point we were able to close the gap on the total amount".
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