Friday, November 25, 2016

US, South Korea Discuss Status of Forces Agreement Ahead of Trump

US, South Korea Discuss Status of Forces Agreement Ahead of Trump

U.S. and South Korean officials met Tuesday to discuss arrangements for the continued presence of 28,000 U.S. troops and possible changes that may be sought by President-elect Donald Trump.

The U.S. team for talks on the current Status of Forces Agreement was led by Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas Bergeson, deputy commander of U.S. Forces-Korea and deputy commander of United Nations Command Korea.

Yeo Seung-bae, the Foreign Ministry’s director-general for North America, led the South Korean delegation at the meeting in Seoul, the first for the joint committee on the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) in nearly a year.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency noted that the meeting took place during the White House’s transition to Trump, who made campaign pledges “to have allies, including South Korea, pay more for American troops stationed in those countries.”

Trump frequently complained that Japan, South Korea and NATO allies are not contributing enough for the stationing of U.S. troops and the protection of the U.S. nuclear umbrella.

A statement issued by the South Korean Foreign Ministry said, “Both sides agreed to continue cooperation to manage various SOFA issues so that the U.S. can have a stable environment for their forces here, while South Korea can minimize the discomfort to their people.”