The first U.S. official said it was highly unlikely that an agreement would be reached before South Korea`s April 15 parliamentary elections. There is pressure to reach an agreement, as the current cost-sharing agreement between the two countries is due to expire by the end of the year. About 28,500 U.S. troops are currently deployed in South Korea, and Seoul has already agreed in February to increase its share of costs by 8.2%. That brought South Korea`s total contribution down to about $808.5 million – about half the total cost – but now Washington negotiators say they want even more. „Instead of focusing on the historic military legacy of the United States on the Korean Peninsula, President Trump is looking at a cost-benefit analysis,“ Kim told VOA. „If we really deal with it, we`re trying to analyze that and make sense of it, but I don`t think [President Trump] is really too interested. He just wants to pay less. Esper and Pompeo argued that South Korea paid no more than a third of the costs most directly related to the deployment of U.S. forces on the Korean Peninsula, let alone other U.S. military and intelligence assets related to its defense. Meanwhile, Seoul has reportedly offered to go up to 10 percent more, but it wants to maintain the framework of the agreement, which covers most of the wages of South Korean workers as well as other logistical and construction costs. Their statements have shattered hopes of reaching a last-minute agreement.
South Korea`s chief negotiator said earlier this week that the two sides were close when he called on the military not to attack the unprecedented Furlough. But current and former U.S. officials say privately that there appears to be little hope of a new deal in the coming days, and some are surprised by weeks and months ahead. SEOUL, South Korea — The United States and South Korea failed to secure a cost-sharing agreement within the Defense Ministry this week, but they will continue to try, officials said, after thousands of pure South Koreans took unpaid leave on U.S. military bases because of a lack of funds. „We expect an agreement to be reached soon,“ he said. The United States rejected South Korea`s request to resolve the wage issue first while developing a comprehensive agreement. Washington – When U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper called his South Korean counterpart this week, he insisted that a quick agreement be reached on cost-sharing for Defense, which President Donald Trump expects to translate into much higher contributions from Seoul.
One of the most tangible results of the failure of the talks was the approximately 4,000 South Korean workers on U.S. bases, who found themselves in the hinterland because of the failure of a deal until April 1. The United States says it needs South Korean cost-shared contributions to pay their salaries. The previous special measures agreement expired on December 31, when longtime allies were blocked because of U.S. demands for South Korea to drastically increase the amount it pays to offset the cost of deploying U.S. troops to the country. „South Korea and the United States have not yet reached an agreement on cost-sharing in the defence field, despite incedered consultations between high-level authorities,“ South Korea`s foreign ministry said in a statement on Thursday.