South Korean authorities said they’re not discussing with the U.S. the drawdown of U.S. troops in the country

As The Wall Street Journal previously reported, disagreements persist between countries over Seoul’s military contingent costs.

The Government of the Republic of Korea has not discussed with the United States the possibility of reducing the American military contingent deployed in the country. This was stated by an official representative of the South Korean Ministry of National Defense at a briefing for journalists in Seoul on Monday.

“The authorities of the Republic of Korea and the United States did not discuss the issue of reducing the number of American troops deployed in the country”, –  he said in response to the relevant question. The ministry spokesman also said that this topic is not planned to be touched upon during the upcoming negotiations between the two countries’ defense ministers.

The Wall Street Journal reported on July 17 that the U.S. authorities are considering the possibility of reducing the U.S. military presence on the territory of the Republic of Korea amid the continuing disagreement between the two countries on defense spending. According to the newspaper, the plans to reduce the number of U.S. military personnel were prepared at the Pentagon and presented to U.S. President Donald Trump. The reason for the alleged lack of agreement on the US military spending in Seoul. Currently, about 28,500 US military personnel are deployed in the Republic of Korea.

In January of this year, the sixth round of negotiations on the allocation of the US military contingent costs on the Korean peninsula was inconclusively concluded. The previous agreement expired on December 31, 2019. From 2018, Washington requires an increase in the share of contributions from Seoul to the United States contingent in the Republic of Korea. South Korea’s joint defence expenditures in 2019 were increased by 8.2 per cent to 1.04 trillion won ($915 million). In November 2019, it was reported that Washington demanded that Seoul increase its contributions almost fivefold to $4.7 billion.