Demanding South Korea pay so much more to keep U.S. troops on the Korean Peninsula, could end up hurting America's defense industry.
That's according to a former commander of UN Command and U.S. Forces Korea.
Speaking at a forum in Washington on Thursday, Walter Sharp said South Korea already pays the highest rate of GDP on defense costs among America's allies.
He added that, if Seoul's contribution towards shared defense costs with the U.S. increases by twofold or even fivefold, it may have to slash its budget for weapons imports.
He said this could prompt South Korea to cut its purchases of U.S. military equipment.
Sharp warned the U.S. to tread carefully and avoid sacrificing the strength of the alliance over defense costs.
Over four rounds of talks, the allies have been discussing the Trump administration's request for South Korea to pay more.
Despite the fact that the bilateral Special Measures Agreement already raised South Korea's payment by eight.two percent this year, Washington is calling on Seoul to raise its contribution to nearly five billion dollars in 2020.
South Korea's top negotiator said this week's round of talks in Washington did not lead to any specific outcomes.
"We have our respective stances. So to narrow our differences, we need to talk it out."
Jeong said Thursday that the U.S is "maintaining its position" on "making requests beyond the current Special Measures Agreement."
He added Seoul also hasn't changed its stance that the two sides should negotiate within the framework of their deal.
Oh Soo-young, Arirang News.