December 12, 2018 13:13
U.S. Ambassador to Seoul Harry Harris on Tuesday implied that Korea should pay more for the upkeep of U.S. forces here. Harris said Washington is grateful for the considerable resources Korea is providing to the bilateral alliance, but that it can and should do more.
Harris was speaking at a Christmas party hosted by the Korea-America Friendship Society on Tuesday.
The U.S. and Korea have just embarked on another round of cost-sharing talks in Seoul and must reach a deal since the current five-year Special Measures Agreement runs out at the end of the year.
In an earlier round of talks, Washington asked Seoul to increase its share by 50 percent to US$1.2 billion, but Seoul demurred because it already pays about half the upkeep of the U.S. Forces Korea as well as 92 percent of the cost of a brand new headquarters in Pyeongtaek south of Seoul of $10.7 billion.
Meanwhile, U.S. senators on Tuesday called for resuming joint military exercises that have been suspended since June. They opposed plans to downscale joint drills next year and rename them as long as North Korea makes no move to denuclearize.
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