US, South Korea Meet Again for Talks on Sharing Defense Costs
The United States and South Korea are meeting for the fourth time to reach an agreement on sharing defense costs.
There are about 28,500 U.S. troops in South Korea. The country shares a heavily armed border with North Korea. The two sides remain technically at war because the Korean War ended in 1953 without a peace treaty.
The current discussions are to take place Tuesday and Wednesday in Washington.
Jeong Eun-bo is South Korea's top negotiator. On his arrival near Washington, he expressed hope after the failure of talks earlier.
"I believe we will be able to produce a win-win result if we continue discussions with patience," Jeong said on December second.
The current cost-sharing agreement will end on December 31. Since 1991, the agreements have been updated every five years, but the current deal covers only one year.
The two sides last reached an agreement in February. South Korea increased its share of defense costs by 8.2 percent to more than $800 million. That amount has been described as about half of the total cost.
A recent study from the government's Korea Institute for National Unification said that 96 percent of South Koreans oppose paying more for defense cost-sharing.
South Korea also said it agreed to pay 90 percent of the $10.7 billion cost of moving a U.S. military base out of Seoul.
President Donald Trump has been urging South Korea and other allies to pay more toward defense costs since he took office in 2017. Reports say that the U.S. asked South Korea to pay about $5 billion starting next year. The request was made during talks last October in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Some experts say that the U.S. is putting pressure on an important ally.
C. Harrison Kim is a North Korea expert and professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He told VOA that he believes South Korea will pay a little more. "If the cost-sharing agreement does not change, South Korea will be forced to buy more weapons from the U.S. – that would undoubtedly happen," he said.
Kim also told VOA that he thinks: "President Trump is approaching this as a cost-benefit analysis" and is not considering the historical legacy of the U.S. in Korea.
Some experts are unsure if the Trump administration will ease its demands that allies pay more of defense costs.
Leif-Eric Easley is a professor at Ewha University in Seoul. He said in an email that the cost-sharing talks come as North Korea continues to threaten the South. "The U.S. and South Korea would be well advised to quickly and diplomatically resolve their differences on defense cost-sharing to demonstrate the strength of their alliance," he said.
I'm Mario Ritter, Jr.
1.peace treaty 和平协议
The peace treaty was signed in Paris.
2.defense costs 国防费用
In the short term, even scaling back defense costs money.
3.military base 军事基地
There used to be a military base in the region.
4.historical legacy 历史遗产
Simplified characters are also part of our cultural and historical legacy.
5.President Donald Trump has been urging South Korea and other allies to pay more toward defense costs since he took office in 2017.
took office 上任
By the time I took office, the war in Afghanistan had entered its seventh year.
My aim when I took office was to make sure our resources were used responsibly and effectively.
6.The United States and South Korea are meeting for the fourth time to reach an agreement on sharing defense costs.
reach an agreement 达成协议
The most important thing is to reach an agreement and to avoid a trade war.
Negotiators again worked right down to the wire to reach an agreement.
目前在韩国驻扎着大约2.85万名美军 。该国与朝鲜接壤，边境戒备森严 。严格意义来讲，双方仍处于战争状态，因为朝鲜战争在1953年结束时没有签订和平条约 。
郑恩甫（Jeong Eun-bo）是韩国的首席谈判代表 。在他抵达华盛顿附近时，他在早些时候谈判失败后表达了希望 。
当前的费用分摊协议将于12月31日结束 。自1991年以来，这些协议每五年更新一次，但目前的协议仅一年期限 。
双方上次达成协议是在2月份 。韩国的国防开支增加了8.2%，达到8亿多美元 。这一数额被描述为总防务费用的一半左右 。
自2017年上任以来，特朗普总统一直敦促韩国和其他盟国承担更多防务费用 。有报道说，美国要求韩国从明年开始支付大约50亿美元 。这一要求是去年10月在夏威夷檀香山举行的会谈中提出的 。
哈里森·金（Harrison Kim）是朝鲜问题专家，也是夏威夷大学马诺阿分校的教授 。他对美国之音表示，他相信韩国将承担更多（防务费用） 。他说：“如果费用分担协议维持不变，韩国将被迫从美国购买更多武器，这是毫无疑问的 。”
利夫-埃里克·伊斯利(Leif-Eric Easley)是首尔梨花大学的教授 。他在一封电子邮件中表示，费用分摊谈判是在朝鲜继续威胁韩国之际举行的 。他说：“美国和韩国最好尽快通过外交手段解决它们在防务费用分担问题上的分歧，以显示其联盟的实力 。”