April 13, 2020 09:30
U.S. President Donald Trump has apparently rejected a mooted breakthrough deal the tug-of-war over the upkeep of the U.S. Forces Korea, Reuters reported last week.
Trump "already rejected what was probably Seoul's best offer... an increase of at least 13 percent from the previous accord," Reuters said quoting unnamed U.S. officials.
Korea's chief negotiator Jeong Eun-bo earlier hinted at an imminent final agreement.
There had been several media reports about the tentative deal since the government announced the two countries were "in last-minute talks." But it seems Trump still wants more money.
"Current and former U.S. officials say privately there appears to be little hope of clinching a new agreement in the coming days, and some wonder about the coming weeks and months," the news agency added.
Neither Cheong Wa Dae nor the Foreign Ministry responded to the report.
Reuters added that it was "highly unlikely an agreement would be reached before [Korea]'s April 15 [general election]... There was concern that this could go well into summer and come closer to November's U.S. presidential election, perhaps making Trump less amenable to lowering his demands."
Some earlier reports already crowed that Trump changed his mind thanks to cooperation between the two countries in fighting coronavirus, climbing down from an extortionate demand for US$5 billion after a phone conversation with President Moon Jae-in last month.
Government officials here said Trump sabotaged what was in effect a done deal. "Working-level negotiators reached agreement, but Trump vetoed it," one speculated.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com