November 20, 2019 10:53
Talks between U.S. and Korean officials in Seoul on Tuesday about how to split the upkeep of the U.S. Forces Korea have broken down.
The U.S. side broke off the meeting after just 80 minutes when Korean negotiators made it clear they could not accept Washington's demands for a massive hike in Seoul's contribution.
Both sides voiced regret at press conferences afterwards.
This is the first time the talks have broken down completely with both sides blaming each other publicly for the failure. U.S. President Donald Trump, who sees Washington's alliances in purely monetary terms, demanded a five-fold hike in Seoul's contribution to US$5 billion.
James DeHart, the chief U.S. negotiator told reporters at the U.S. Embassy annex in Seoul, "Unfortunately, the proposals that were put forward by the Korean team were not responsive to our request for fair and equitable burden sharing."
"As a result, we cut short our participation in the talks today in order to give the Korean side some time to reconsider and, I hope, to put forward new proposals that would enable both sides to work towards a mutually acceptable agreement," he added.
Korea's chief negotiator Jeong Eun-bo told reporters at the Foreign Ministry, "There were considerable differences in principle in the overall demands made by the U.S. and what we were willing to commit."
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