The United States and South Korea have reached a deal for six more years of base housing, ensuring a continuation of a key location for protection of American interests – both economic and, in theory, human rights in Asia. The Asahi Shimbun reported on Wednesday that South Korea had agreed to a new deal wherein they would pay approximately 13.9% more than their 2019 arrangement had required. The new price was meant to reflect heightened maintenance prices and the costs of inflation.
President Trump had demanded a significant increase, and negotiators for the two sides had agreed on a roughly 13% jump as of early 2020. The former President balked, insisting that South Korea pay far more – eventually lowering the exorbitant price tag to a “mere” 49% jump over 2019 prices.
South Korea did not agree with his assessment.
Stopgap measures were put in place to allow the bases to remain open through the end of 2020 and into the beginning of the new year. Following the change in administration, discussions resumed from the point at which they’d previously floundered. The roughly 13% agreed to by negotiators of both parties is expected – barring last minute intervention by President Biden – to be codified shortly.
The announcement falls amidst a nine-day joint military exercise which began on March 8. The exercise is being conducted virtually, continuing a process which began in 2018 as a capitulation to the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un and continues in recognition of COVID-19 safety restrictions. It is uncertain whether, post-COVID-19, the joint operations will return to physical movements.