South Koreans largely optimistic about Trump-Kim summit

South Korea Signs Deal To Pay More For US Troops After Trump's Demand

United States Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, and Marines have been stationed in South Korea for over half a century, and the requirement for a robust alliance has never been greater.

About 28,500 US troops are stationed in South Korea, where the United States has maintained a military presence since the 1950-53 Korean War. On Sunday, Seoul's Foreign Ministry said the countries signed a new deal.

South Korea has signed a new deal with the United States on how much Seoul should pay for the USA military presence on its soil after a previous deal lapsed amid President Donald Trump's call for Seoul to pay more.

While acknowledging lingering domestic criticism of the new deal and the need for parliamentary approval, Ms Kang said the response had "been positive so far".

Seoul said Sunday it agreed to hike its payment for maintaining American troops on its soil, settling a dispute with its longtime ally ahead of a second summit between the U.S. and North Korea.

In order for Pyongyang to have any chance at hosting, North Korea will have to show a willingness to break down their nuclear program, in which President Donald Trump's summit in Hanoi at the end of the month with Kim Jong-Un will be vital.

A senior South Korean ruling party legislator said last month that negotiations were deadlocked after the United States made a "sudden, unacceptable" demand that Seoul pay more than 1.4 trillion won per year.

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The disagreement had raised the prospect that Mr Trump could decide to withdraw at least some troops from South Korea, as he has done in other countries like Syria.

On Feb. 10, South Korea's Foreign Ministry said that the United States had affirmed it would not be changing the scale of its troop presence.

The choice of Vietnam as host of this month's summit between Trump and Kim shows the Southeast Asian nation is headed in the right direction, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said on Tuesday. North Korea has yet to say what city will accompany Seoul, but experts suggest that it will be Pyongyang due to its advanced infrastructure.

After the June meeting, Mr Trump had announced a halt to joint military exercises with South Korea, saying they were expensive and paid for mostly by the US.

South Korea insists it pays a fair share of the some $2 billion per year needed to keep the troops in the country, with funds mainly used for salaries of almost 9,000 local employees who provide food and administrative services, and other logistical needs.

Services had not been interrupted thanks to reserve funds, but USFK had warned the Korean Employees' Union that it would have to put local staff on unpaid leave beginning in mid-April if a deal wasn't reached.

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