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Trump says U.S. to pull some troops from Germany, could be an example to S. Korea
Updated: 2020-06-16 13:48:01 KST
U.S. President Donald Trump says he will reduce the number of U.S. troops in Germany from around 34,500 to 25,000 confirming earlier reports on the move that raised concerns in Europe about U.S. commitment to the region.
The President said it's because of Germany's failure to meet NATO's agreed defense spending target. He also claimed Germany is not practicing fair trade with the U.S.
In 2014, NATO agreed that each of its 30 members should spend 2% of GDP on defense, but many countries, including Germany, haven't managed this.
This could be alarming not just for NATO members, but also for other countries where U.S. forces are based.
For example, the U.S. has more than 26,000 troops stationed in South Korea and 55,000 in Japan.
For months, Seoul and Washington have been trying to come to an agreement over defense cost sharing but they are at an impasse as Korea's Foreign Ministry proposed a 13% increase, whereas the U.S. demanded a 50% increase during the last renegotiations in March.

"Considering the U.S. policy for the Pacific and China, the need for a reduction of U.S. troops in Korea is not high. Also, there are ongoing nuclear problems from North Korea. That being said, instead of cutting troops in the region, it's more likely they will pressure South Korea using this method to try to increase Korea's share of the defense costs."

In addition, due to the National Defense Authorization Act, U.S. forces in Korea cannot be reduced without the approval of congress.
However, former U.S. ambassador to Berlin, Richard Grenell recently said President Trump is "very clear" in bringing troops home from countries like South Korea, Japan and other allies, which means the reduction of troops is not completely out of the question.
Kim Do-yeon, Arirang News.
Reporter : tkim@arirang.com