South Korea Signs New Military Deal With United States

Korean Military
South Korea-U.S. Marine Corps joint military exercises(2013 Ssangyong Exercises) (Photo: Republic of Korea Armed Forces / Wikimedia Commons)

The United States and South Korea have recently signed a new military deal as the former is slated for new negotiations with North Korea. While hailed by both sides as a significant deal, many observers have noted that the deal was hurried and that it might affect the United States' military presence in South Korea. It is also important to point out that U.S. President Donald Trump is slated to meet North Korean lead Kim Jong-Un before the end of the month.

Under the new military deal, South Korea will contribute about $890 million annually in order to maintain the American military presence in the country. This is an increase of 8.2 percent compared to the previously signed five-year deal which expired last year. According to reports, the agreed upon amount is less than the original $1 billion which the United States had asked for. South Korea is already responsible for paying half the cost of keeping the United States Force Korea (USKF) in the country. On the other hand, there are reports claiming that the United States is asking for a 50 percent increase and more.

While the deal has been signed by both countries, it will not take effect until the South Korean legislature ratifies it. The two countries are expected to return to the negotiating table within the foreseeable future as South Korea originally intended for a different deal.

Aside from South Korea, a number of countries allied to the United States are host to the superpower's military. The United States has military bases in Germany and Japan. There are reports coming out of the White House claiming that President Trump is looking to reach deals with other allied nations similar to the one recently signed with South Korea.

Many observers have noted that the U.S. is slightly steering towards from a "rules-based international order, to a deal-based order" as noted by Kangwon National University political scientist Chung Kuyoun.

On the other hand, the United States has repeatedly insisted that it is not considering pulling out any of its troops outside of South Korea should the Asian country failed to meet its financial demands. The United States has 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea.

In an interview, South Korean lawmaker Won Yoo-chul said, "I regret that President Trump made the unilateral decision to suspend U.S.-South Korean joint military exercises during the first U.S.-North Korea summit in Singapore."

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