SEOUL, (BM) – South Korea has already made the best possible proposal in the negotiations on sharing the cost of maintaining the American contingent on the Korean peninsula, the Renhap news agency reported, citing a diplomatic source, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.
“I can’t name a figure, but the Foreign Minister has already said that this proposal was the best possible,” the agency’s informed interlocutor said.
It is clarified that this refers to the remarks made by Foreign Minister Kang Gen Hwa last week that a 13% increase from last year’s defense sharing agreement was the best deal Seoul could make.
The agency’s source noted that despite Washington’s statements about its flexibility in negotiations with South Korea, little progress has been made since early April.
“Since the beginning of April, no big changes have occurred. We have no idea what kind of flexibility we are talking about in the United States,” he stressed.
On Tuesday, Mark Knapper, deputy assistant secretary of state for Korea and Japan, again called for Washington’s flexibility, stressing that the US has so far been “very flexible.”
Following these reports, US President Donald Trump confirmed Washington’s refusal of Seoul’s proposed increase in spending, saying South Korea should pay “a large percentage of what we do” there.
Trump’s refusal exacerbated fears that tensions over defense spending could undermine the two countries’s alliance at a time when Seoul and Washington needed to focus on pushing for stalled North Korean denuclearization talks and building lasting peace on the Korean peninsula.
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