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Political determination of S. Korean, U.S. leaders key to agreement on defense cost-sharing: Experts Updated: 2020-02-18 09:57:00 KST


Experts point to two possible scenarios behind the delay in the defense cost-sharing negotiations between Seoul and Washington.
First, there could be no room for compromise as the allies have unyielding views.
Second, there's the possibility that the technical negotiations are done, with only the political determination of the two leaders left.
The fact the top diplomats of South Korea and the U.S. said last week as they met in Germany that they agreed to continue efforts to smoothly address alliance issues such as defense cost-sharing implies the second scenario is more likely.
Experts believe President Trump could ask South Korea to pay around 800 million U.S. dollars, significantly lower than the 5 billion he originally proposed.
And it looks like President Moon Jae-in is considering presenting a political gift to the American leader, while insisting there cannot be a significant hike in the amount Seoul shoulders for the stationing of over 28-thousand American troops in the country.
This is highly likely as President Trump's diplomatic support is essential for President Moon to achieve his goal of establishing permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula and North Korea's denuclearization.
This week is another crucial one for the allies as they must agree on future schedules to meet for defense cost-sharing negotiations.
Kim Hyo-sun, Arirang News.
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