US lawmakers urge Pompeo to seek longer-term defense deal with S. Korea

By Park Han-na
  • Published : Feb 9, 2019 - 09:37
  • Updated : Feb 9, 2019 - 09:37

Two US lawmakers have urged Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to seek a longer-term cost-sharing agreement for the stationing of American troops in South Korea.

In a letter dated Wednesday, Reps. Grace Meng and Norma Torres said a one-year deal does not sufficiently reflect the importance of the US alliance with South Korea.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (left) looks on as US President Donald J. Trump (right) launches the White House global women initiative by signing a national security memorandum in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Feb. 7. (AP-Yonhap)

The note comes as the two countries are finalizing a new deal on sharing the costs of stationing 28,500 American troops in South Korea.

It reportedly calls for increasing South Korea's contribution to just over 1 trillion won (US$890 million) and shortening the term of the deal from five years to one.

"Communicating unwavering US commitment to our allies is particularly pertinent as the Administration prepares for a second US-North Korea summit in February," the letter reads. "Anything less exposes an unnecessary opportunity for North Korea to take advantage of any real or perceived divisions within the alliance."

US President Donald Trump announced this week that he will meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Vietnam Feb. 27-28.

"While we are pleased that this short-term agreement was reached between the two countries in advance of the North Korea summit, we are concerned by the temporary nature of this agreement and urge the Administration to seek a longer-term solution that communicates the depth of U.S. commitment to our South Korean allies," wrote the lawmakers. (Yonhap)