April 22, 2020 09:47
U.S. President Donald Trump has admitted turning down Korea's latest and probably best offer to share the upkeep of the U.S. Forces Korea.
"They've offered us a certain amount of money and I've rejected it," Trump said Monday. "We're asking them to pay for a big percentage of what we're doing."
Reuters reported on April 10 that Korea had offered a 13 percent increase from the last agreement to W1.17 trillion this year, countering Trump's exorbitant demand of US$5 billion (US$1=W1,231).
Trump boasted in a press briefing that he was holding out for a better deal. "I just said it's just, look, you know, we're doing a tremendous service," he said. "We have a wonderful feeling and a wonderful relationship with each other, but we have to be treated equitably and fairly."
"We think that, before I came aboard, they paid very little if anything," he added, falsely.
Trump's mastery of briefs was on proud display in other ways on Monday. "We have 32,000 soldiers there... We're paying for the military... to defend another nation that's 8,500 miles away," he said. "We've been defending them for many, many decades."
The actual number is 28,500.
"South Korea is a very wealthy nation. They make our television sets. They make ships. They make everything," he informed his audience.
Calling President Moon Jae-in "a friend of mine," Trump said he congratulated Moon on his "wonderful election victory," and added, "I was very happy about that."
But Korea signaled that the negotiations are going to be protracted. Foreign Ministry spokesman Kim In-chul said Seoul "has maintained a principle of fair burden sharing at a reasonable level, and is holding fast to it."
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