Trump Demands South Korea Pay 'Substantially More' for Defense Costs

Donald Trump

Relations between the two USA allies worsened late past year as part of a decades-old dispute over compensation for forced laborers during Japan's occupation.

WASHINGTON ― Within days of multiple North Korean missile tests, U.S. President Donald Trump has said "talks have begun" for South Korea to pay the U.S. more for its defense.

However, last year, at Trump's request, South Korea paid $990 million, he wrote, noting that the Asian country 'agreed to pay substantially more money to the United States in order to defend itself from North Korea'.

Its four rounds of weapons demonstrations in two weeks come during a stalemate in nuclear negotiations and after President Donald Trump repeatedly dismissed the significance of the tests, even though the weapons show North Korea's ability to strike at USA allies South Korea and Japan and its military bases there.

Kim Dong-yub, an analyst at Seoul's Institute for Far Eastern Studies, said North Korea's decision to fly the missiles over its capital indicated it was confident about the reliability of the system.

In a pair of posts to Twitter Wednesday morning, Trump argued the USA pays too much to cover the Pacific ally's defense costs.

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South Korea's Unification Ministry said 546 defectors arrived in the country in the first six months of this year, up from 487 in the same period last year, the report said.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that the missile launches by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) would not dampen the environment for negotiations on denuclearization.

He said politically it would be tough for President Moon because he would not be able to get get the National Assembly to pay extra for increased burden-sharing and would come from a reduction in other things already planned. In recent weeks, Chinese and Russian planes have probed Korean skies in their first joint exercise in the region, North Korea has test-fired a barrage of short-range missiles and in a trade spat with Tokyo, Seoul has failed to garner worldwide support.

Esper landed at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, 70 kilometers south of Seoul, from Mongolia for a two-day visit as part of his five-nation tour of the Asia-Pacific region, which includes stops in Australia, New Zealand and Japan, according to defense ministry officials.

"The President and Kim Jong Un have an understanding that Kim Jong Un is not going to launch longer-range, intercontinental-range ballistic missiles, and so I think the President is watching this very, very carefully", Bolton told Fox News. Moon, a progressive, was elected in May 2017 after a decade of conservative rule in South Korea.

He also has prodded members nations of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to upgrade their financial contributions and has threatened to pull the USA out of the alliance if they do not do so.

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