An already contentious issue has grown even more divisive with U.S. President Donald Trump reportedly planning to ask South Korea to pay more for the presence of U.S. troops in the country. The U.S. armed forces were protecting South Koreans from attacks that could be launched in the North or elsewhere, the U.S. explained their reasoning. Japan, where more U.S. troops are based than in South Korea, is expected to also be asked to pay up.
In February, South Korea and the U.S. had signed an interim agreement, raising Seoul’s contribution for U.S. protection from $830 million to $924 million annually, according to the Japan Times. The new increase is much bigger, however, with the Trump administration allegedly planning to charge the country a total of $4.8 billion – five times what it is currently paying.
Looking at troop levels in Korea and Japan, a comparable increase for Japan would see the country pay between $8 and $20 billion per year for U.S. troops. In 2017, Japan paid $4.4 billion to the U.S., according to UPI.