In a survey by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, only 4 percent of South Koreans said that their country should give in to the demands of the Trump administration and pay five times – approximately $5 billion – their current bill for the U.S. troop presence in the country.
A majority of Koreans – 63 percent – said that their country should negotiate a lower price. A quarter of Koreans said that the country should flat out refuse to pay the increase. Among those wanting to negotiate, more than half said a price below $1.7 billion was appropriate, showing a general rejection of the sky-high price hike the U.S. is proposing.
In October, President Trump startled Koreans by suggesting the price increase. Currently, South Korea is paying $924 million, a price that was set in February. The maneuvering of the U.S. is in line with the Trump administration’s general aim to limit the engagement of the U.S. military abroad and the spending connected to it. Because U.S. nuclear weapons are acting as a counterweight to nuclear weapons held by North Korea, Trump might feel a certain amount of leverage towards Seoul. Japan, where more troops are stationed than in Korea, received a similar proposition in November and was asked to raise payments to $8 billion.