Last year, the South Korean government paid the United States roughly $830 Million to cover its share of the costs of housing American troops. This was deemed by the Trump administration to be too small a contribution, and they negotiated in February to increase the amount to $924 Million.
Since then, there have been suggestions that the U.S. had not given up on its desire to get more than the negotiated amount. This week, a solid number has finally been provided, per the Chosun Ilbo: $4.7 Billion.
The paper provides a translation of U.S. comments, saying that James DeHart, a senior State Department official in charge of the financial negotiations, made an unplanned visit to South Korea yesterday, where he informed South Korea that the new figure was going to be much higher than anyone had expected, more than $5 billion, but that the United States would be willing to take only a portion of the cost and accept $4.7 billion per year as the cost of keeping troops stationed in South Korea.
The drastically increased costs are a bellwether for what are expected to be greatly increased demands to Japan, Germany, and NATO for stationing American troops outside of American borders.
The money from other nations would help offset the exorbitant spending that the Trump administration has pursued for its domestic agenda. It also alienates international allies, further demonstrates that under Trump the United States is an unreliable military partner, and provides direct material aid to nations which have sworn to harm or even destroy the United States. (It is readily apparent that even the direct threat of US troop departure aids both North Korea and China, regionally, and Russia which has been extending its influence in Southeast Asia). Removal of troops from South Korea would gravely reduce our readiness to take action in Asia and would further undermine the traditional American desire to promote freedom and liberty throughout the world. Republicans used to deride the Democrats for inadequately supporting the cause of freedom; they are now the strongest advocates against it, rendering it instead a mercenary cause.