Pentagon Chief says U.S. not threatening allies with troop cuts

2019/11/1574313913.jpg
Read: 548     10:56     21 November 2019    

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the U.S. is not using the threat of troop cuts as it seeks more money from South Korea and other countries that host American service personnel.


Esper, at the end of a week-long tour through Asia, made the comment Thursday after the South Korea daily Chosun Ilbo reported the U.S. is considering withdrawing one of its brigades in South Korea if ongoing defense cost talks don’t go as it wants. The paper attributed the information to a diplomatic source in Washington familiar with the talks.

U.S. Walks Out of Military Cost-Sharing Talks With South Korea

U.S. negotiators walked out of a meeting in Seoul earlier this week when South Korea balked at a Trump administration demand for a five-fold increase in funding, raising questions about the stability of one of America’s most important military alliances. The current cost-sharing agreement reached earlier this year expires at the end of 2019.

“I don’t know what this report is. We aren’t threatening allies over this. This is a negotiation,” Esper told reporters in Vietnam, adding the State Department has the lead in the negotiations. Esper said last week in Seoul that South Korea is a rich country which should pay more.


South Korea’s Defense Ministry said that despite the latest acrimony, the U.S. has vowed in its latest meeting that its forces would stay.

President Donald Trump has demanded South Korea contribute about $5 billion for hosting U.S. troops, well above the current one-year deal where Seoul pays about $1 billion. The price tag originated with the White House, according to people familiar with the matter, and administration officials justify it by saying it reflects the costs South Korea would incur if it takes operational control of combined U.S.-South Korean forces in the case of a conflict.

Trump has repeatedly expressed frustration with the open-ended troop deployment, saying after his first meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last year that he would “like to bring them back home, but that’s not part of the equation right now.” At the same time, he has accepted a long-standing Kim demand and suspended major joint military exercises that the U.S. and South Korea have relied on to maintain readiness.

The U.S. has about 28,500 service members in South Korea.

Bloomberg



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News Line

Pentagon Chief says U.S. not threatening allies with troop cuts

2019/11/1574313913.jpg
Read: 549     10:56     21 November 2019    

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the U.S. is not using the threat of troop cuts as it seeks more money from South Korea and other countries that host American service personnel.


Esper, at the end of a week-long tour through Asia, made the comment Thursday after the South Korea daily Chosun Ilbo reported the U.S. is considering withdrawing one of its brigades in South Korea if ongoing defense cost talks don’t go as it wants. The paper attributed the information to a diplomatic source in Washington familiar with the talks.

U.S. Walks Out of Military Cost-Sharing Talks With South Korea

U.S. negotiators walked out of a meeting in Seoul earlier this week when South Korea balked at a Trump administration demand for a five-fold increase in funding, raising questions about the stability of one of America’s most important military alliances. The current cost-sharing agreement reached earlier this year expires at the end of 2019.

“I don’t know what this report is. We aren’t threatening allies over this. This is a negotiation,” Esper told reporters in Vietnam, adding the State Department has the lead in the negotiations. Esper said last week in Seoul that South Korea is a rich country which should pay more.


South Korea’s Defense Ministry said that despite the latest acrimony, the U.S. has vowed in its latest meeting that its forces would stay.

President Donald Trump has demanded South Korea contribute about $5 billion for hosting U.S. troops, well above the current one-year deal where Seoul pays about $1 billion. The price tag originated with the White House, according to people familiar with the matter, and administration officials justify it by saying it reflects the costs South Korea would incur if it takes operational control of combined U.S.-South Korean forces in the case of a conflict.

Trump has repeatedly expressed frustration with the open-ended troop deployment, saying after his first meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last year that he would “like to bring them back home, but that’s not part of the equation right now.” At the same time, he has accepted a long-standing Kim demand and suspended major joint military exercises that the U.S. and South Korea have relied on to maintain readiness.

The U.S. has about 28,500 service members in South Korea.

Bloomberg



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