The US and South Korea discussed the division of defense spending

The defense Ministers of South Korea and the US Tuesday discussed by telephone the problem of separating defence spending and other security issues on the Korean Peninsula, reported South Korean defense Ministry.

In addition to discussing the cost of maintaining U.S. troops and joint exercises command posts this summer, Ministers Jung Kyung Doo and mark Esper agreed to continue efforts for the denuclearization of the DPRK to establish a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, as well as the transfer of operational control (OPCON) of South Korean troops from Washington to Seoul. The parties agreed to continue discussion of all issues at the annual consultative meeting on security issues in the fall.

Earlier, the Wall Street Journal reported that the administration of the President of the United States Donald trump is considering the possibility of reducing the American military contingent in South Korea as the two countries continue to disagree about the increase in the share of South Korea in the cost of American troops on the Peninsula. Administration officials trump refused to comment on the report and stated that the decision on the reduction of forces was not accepted.

On Monday, the representative of the Ministry of defense of South Korea said during the negotiations with the United States does not discuss the reduction of U.S. troops on the Peninsula. Yonhap news Agency on Tuesday, citing officials from the Ministry of defence confirmed that during a telephone conversation of Ministers, this issue also was not raised.

Since 1991, the Republic of Korea shall reimburse Washington by special agreement part of the cost of maintaining the US military in South Korea. Payments in 2019 amounted to 870 million dollars.

It was reported that Washington since the beginning of negotiations in September 2019 was made from South Korea increasing payments by 50%. Seoul in turn was originally proposed to increase their spending by only 10%. In March the parties agreed to increase 13-14% and a sustained increase of 7-8% per year until 2024. However, these conditions are not satisfied trump and negotiations have stalled.

American troops are in South Korea since the Korean war of 1950-1953, which ended with the signing of the armistice agreement between North Korea and fought under the UN flag by U.S. troops. Pyongyang has repeatedly insisted on the signing of the peace Treaty and the withdrawal of the military contingent of the United States from South Korea, however so far Washington is not under the pretext of the "North Korean threat".

After the Korean war of 1950-1953, South Korea has transferred the right to control his troops the U.S. to protect the country from the threat of invasion from North Korea. The right of command and control in peacetime it returned to Seoul in 1994, however, the right of operational management is still in the United States.

The agreement on the transfer of operational control in wartime, the Armed forces of RK was reached in 2007. It was assumed that the transfer will be completed by 2012. However, in 2010 and 2015, Seoul has repeatedly asked Washington to reschedule the transfer, a new term was scheduled for early 2020-ies, but the division of spending on defense and coronavirus have slowed the process.