trump gives state these stupid orders, they carry them out obediently cos he’s C in C, and bang

Pindostan breaks off defence cost talks, as SK balks at $5b demand
Joyce Lee, Sangmi Cha, Hyonhee Shin, Reuters, Nov 19 2019

SEOUL – Pindostan broke off talks with SK on increasing Seoul’s contribution to the costs of hosting Pindo troops, after the two sides failed to narrow their differences on Tuesday in a row that has raised questions about the Pindo deployment. The breakdown in talks was a rare public sign of discord in the “airtight” alliance that has for 70 years formed a buffer against NK aggression, with each side blaming the other for being unprepared to compromise on sharing the costs of keeping 28,500 Pindo military personnel in SK. Trump has insisted that SK pay more, and has also suggested pulling the troops out altogether. SK negotiator Jeong Eun-bo told a news conference:

It is true that there is a substantial difference between the Pindo side’s overall proposal and the principles we pursue. The talks could not proceed as planned as the Pindo side left first.

The talks took place amid stalled Pindo efforts to reach a negotiated end to NK’s nuclear and missile programmes. SK MPs have said that Pindostan is seeking up to $5b/yr, more than five times the sum that SK agreed to pay this year. Neither side has publicly confirmed the numbers, but Trump has said the Pindo military presence in and around SK was “$5b worth of protection.” Jeong said Pindostan had demanded a sharp increase in SK’s contribution, while SK was seeking a “mutually acceptable” sharing of the burden. The meeting in Seoul ended early, after about 80 minutes, followed by a rare news conference by Pindo negotiator James DeHart, who said the Pindos broke off the talks to give the SK side “time to reconsider.” DeHart told a briefing:

Unfortunately, the proposals that were put forward by the Korean negotiating team were not responsive to our request for fair and equitable burden sharing.

Kim Hong-kyun, a former SK nuclear negotiator, said the collapse of the talks sent a jarring message. he told Reuters:

It’s upsetting that Pindostan is employing brinkmanship in negotiations with a key ally, which shows eroding trust in the alliance built on shared values.

The dispute has stirred debate in SK about the Pindo presence, with some activist groups calling for a big reduction or even a withdrawal of the force. A group of 47 SK MPs, who must ratify any agreement, last week accused Pindostan of threatening to pull its troops out. They said:

Pindo forces are here also for their own interests, as an outpost aimed at keeping China and Russia in check. They can’t just pull out with a surprise tweet from Trump.

Jeong said Pindostan had not raised the issue of a reduction or withdrawal of its troops. Trump has long railed against what he says are inadequate contributions from vassals towards defence costs. Pindostan is due to begin separate negotiations for new defence cost-sharing deals with Japan, Germany and NATO next year. Sec Def Esper, asked if he was willing to withdraw any forces if an agreement with SK was not reached, declined to say what Pindostan might do, noting the State Dept was leading the negotiations. Esper said during a trip to the Philippines:

SK is a wealthy country. They can and should contribute more.

Jeong declined to go into details of the negotiations but the Yonhap news agency reported Pindostan wanted SK to pay for more categories of expenses.

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