Following a demand by US President Donald Trump, South Korea has agreed to boost their contribution towards the upkeep of US troops on the peninsula. A short-term agreement to boost their contribution was signed on Sunday, February 10th, after a previous deal had lapsed, according to a report by Reuters.
Seoul agreed to pay $924 million this year in cost-sharing with the U S, lifting a strain on the alliance just in time for the next U.S.-North Korean summit. However, the deal must still be approved by South Korea's parliament.
About 28,500 US troops are stationed in South Korea, where the U S has maintained a military presence since the 1950-53 Korean War.
In a statement issued after a signing ceremony, South Korea's foreign ministry said that Seoul will pay about 1.04 trillion won (US$924 million) in 2019, 8.2% more than it offered under a previous five-year pact which expired at the end of last year, according to AFP.
The ministry added that although the US had demanded a huge increase in contributions, they were able to reach an agreement that reflects "the security situation of the Korean peninsula."
"The two countries reaffirmed... the importance of a strong South Korea-US alliance and the need for a stable stationing of the US troops," it said.
Unlike past agreements, which lasted for five years, this one is scheduled to expire in a year, potentially forcing both sides back to the bargaining table within months.
The report said that the provisional contract, known as the Special Measures Agreement, was inked nearly six weeks after the previous version expired at the end of the year.
Signing the deal came after officials from the two countries held ten rounds of talks last year, but remained deadlocked over President Donald Trump's demand that the South pay significantly more.