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US demands S. Korea drastically increase funding for security. Seoul calls move 'unacceptable.'


If a deal is not reached, U.S. troops in South Korea could go on leave as soon as April

ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images

South Korea has denounced a U.S. demand for a 50 percent increase in security payments as "unacceptable."

What's the background?

The United States has kept a military presence in South Korea since the Korean War effectively ended in 1953. The war never technically ended, but an armistice has kept open hostilities to a minimum for the past 63 years.

In 2014, the U.S. signed a deal requiring South Korea to pay $850 million per year to the United States. In return, the U.S. would keep 28,500 troops in South Korea. This deal expired last year. Since then, there have been 10 rounds of talks to strike a new deal, all of which have proven to be unsuccessful.

What does the U.S. want?

In December, the U.S. demanded that the South Korean government increase its funding to roughly $1.2 billion.

Hong Young-pyo, a senior ruling party legislator, called the demand "sudden" and "unacceptable," according to a report from Reuters.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly called for South Korea, and other nations, to pay more for U.S. military support.

The U.S. has threatened to put all of its troops in South Korea on leave as soon as April if its demands are not met. In addition to the troops, about 70 percent of this funding would also be used by the U.S. to pay for 8,700 South Koreans employed by the U.S. forces.

South Korean lawmaker Kang Seok-ho told Reuters that the South Korean government would not pay more than $890 million per year. The government of South Korea also wants assurances that a deal would be good for five years, instead of just one year.

Any deal reached between the two countries would then have to be approved by South Korea's Parliament.

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