US says South Korea wealthy enough to pay more for US troops

epaselect epa07507770 Soldiers from the US Forces in Korea 2nd Infantry Division participate in a contest for the 'best warrior' among troops of the US 2nd Infantry Division and Korea-US Combined Forces Command at Camp Casey in Dongducheon, South Korea, 15 April 2019. The 2nd Infantry Division holds an annual Best Warrior Competition where 25 Soldiers compete in a variety of events testing them both physically and mentally. EPA-EFE/JEON HEON-KYUN

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U.S. Defence Secretary Mark Esper on Friday pressed Washington’s case that longtime ally South Korea must pay a bigger share of the cost of having U.S. troops on its soil.

“This is a very strong alliance we have, but Korea is a wealthy country and could and should pay more to help offset the cost of defence,” Esper told a joint news conference with his South Korean counterpart, Jeong Kyeong-doo.

Esper said that while South Korea has provided “a fair amount of support in the past,” it is important to point out that “most of that money stays here in this country — easily over 90% of that money stays here in Korea, it does not go to the United States.”

The amount Korea pays for the presence of about 28,000 U.S. troops has varied over the years. This year it is nearly $1 billion.

Via AP

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