Seoul preps bid to co-host 2032 Summer Olympics with North Korea

Frederick Owens
February 13, 2019

South Korea has agreed to pay the US nearly $100 million more than they did past year to defray expenses associated with stationing 28,500 troops of US Forces Korea on the peninsula.

North and South Korea are pressing ahead with a joint bid to host to 2032 summer Olympic Games in a new sign of the unprecedented improvement in relations between the two countries.

At their first meeting in Singapore past year, the notoriously unpredictable US president had made a shock decision to suspend US-South Korea military drills.

Unlike past agreements, which lasted for five years, this one is scheduled to expire in a year, potentially forcing both sides back to the bargaining table within months.

The deal will officially go into effect after it receives parliamentary approval in South Korea, which is expected to take place in April, according to Yonhap news agency.

The Prime Minister said this when responding to a question whether Malaysia viewed the second summit between United States and North Korean leaders as a positive development to reopen its embassy in North Korea.

The allies had failed to reach a new cost-sharing plan during some 10 rounds of talks.

South Korean officials have said they had sought to limit its burden to $1 trillion won and make the accord valid for at least three years.

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

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 United States and North Korea.

Trump has complained that maintaining troops in South Korea is too expensive and said in the past that he would like to bring them home.

The United States, meanwhile, reaffirmed the need for a "stable US military deployment" and offered assurances that it has no plans to change the number of forces on the divided peninsula, the Foreign Ministry said in a press release.

President Donald Trump's pick to lead the World Bank vowed yesterday to cooperate with South Korea on developing North Korea and other various sectors, the finance ministry here said.

Major joint exercises have been suspended, but some small-scale drills have continued, earning rebukes from North Korea's state media in recent months.

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.

But Trump told U.S. broadcaster CBS last week that he had "no plans" to remove U.S. troops from South Korea as part of a deal at the upcoming summit, although he admitted "maybe someday" he would withdraw them, adding: "It's very expensive to keep troops there".

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