US Envoy Says Time Running Short for North Korea Deal

US and South Korean soldiers attend the 5th ROK-US alliance dinner in Seoul on Nov 14 2019

US Envoy Says Time Running Short for North Korea Deal

The breakdown in talks was a rare public sign of discord in the "airtight" alliance that has for 70 years formed a buffer against North Korean aggression, with each side blaming the other for being unprepared to compromise on sharing the costs of keeping 28,500 USA military personnel in South Korea.

Esper, at the end of a week-long tour through Asia, made the comment Thursday after the South Korea daily Chosun Ilbo reported the United States is considering withdrawing one of its brigades in South Korea if ongoing defence cost talks don't go as it wants.

Stephen Biegun updated the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the progress of U.S.

The US and South Korea agreed to a $920 million annual cost-sharing payment earlier this year, but Trump is now demanding $4.7 billion.

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Negotiations faltered after the USA rejected North Korean demands for broad sanctions relief in exchange for a partial surrender of the North's nuclear capabilities.

"In that sense, I think a summit or leaders' talks (between North Korea and the U.S.) isn't an interesting issue for us". -South Korean alliance, despite a breakdown this week in negotiations over a US demand for a five-fold increase in what Seoul pays to keep 28,500 American troops on its soil.

Under US law, the presence of US troops in South Korea should not fall below 22,000 unless the defense secretary justifies a new reduction to Congress.

"I think the nuclear issue can be discussed again when the USA abolishes all hostile policies toward North Korea", it quoted her as saying during a visit to Moscow.

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"We're not threatening allies over this", Esper said in Hanoi. -South Korean defense alliance that emerged from the 1950-53 Korean War.

"He has given North Korea everything they want", he said during the Democrat debate hosted by MSNBC and the Washington Post, adding that President Trump gave the regime "legitimacy by having a meeting with Kim Jong-un, who's a thug". That doesn't mean anybody gets a free ride.

The third rift in relations that Esper encountered in Seoul is a standoff between South Korea and Japan - both US defense treaty allies. "We have a hard negotiation to share the burden that we are in the middle of South Koreans", said Biegun.

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