‘Very Unpopular’: South Korea to Pay $923 Mln for US Forces Korea in 2019

Asia & Pacific

South Korea has agreed to pay the US almost $100 million more than they did last year to defray expenses associated with stationing 28,500 troops of US Forces Korea on the peninsula.

Under a new cost-sharing agreement signed by South Korean and American negotiators on Sunday, Seoul will pay approximately $923 million in 2019, the South Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement cited by the Associated Press.

Seoul sent $830 million to Washington in 2018.

The agreement has yet to be ratified by South Korean lawmakers, which is a necessary step before the deal’s terms go into effect, the BBC reported. The deal expires in one year. Past agreements lasted five years, Reuters notes, and the South Korean side was hoping to extend the 2019 deal at least three years.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said the “very long” process of negotiating was “ultimately a very successful” one, adding that the response to the deal from other South Koreans had been “positive so far,” Reuters reports.

​Scholars took exception with the notion that the deal is being received with applause in South Korea. “It’s obviously very unpopular” in South Korea, says professor Tim Beal of Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

“You can pick that up in [South Korean] media from the right-wing press to the liberal press. They don’t like being screwed, but that’s what is happening,” Beal told Loud &…

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