9,000 U.S. soldiers threaten to leave Korea over funding row

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American soldiers of 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division walk during a combined training exercise with Senegalese 1st Paratrooper Battalion in Thies on July 25, 2016. The first in a series of planned annual USARAF exercises, ART 2016 brings together U.S. Army Soldiers from U.S. Africa Command's Regionally Aligned Force with African partners to increase U.S. and partner readiness through tough and realistic training, including combined live-fire events, counter-improvised explosive device detection and combat casualty care. / AFP / SEYLLOU (Photo credit should read SEYLLOU/AFP via Getty Images)
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Seoul – About 9,000 members of the U.S. military, stationed in South Korea, on Wednesday urged to leave if a dispute over the sharing of the costs for the 28,500 U.S. soldiers stationed in the country remains unresolved.

According to U.S. Armed Forces, upon expiration of an agreement on funding from 2019, no follow-up deal for the U.S. Forces/Korea (USFK), has been reached and employees were notified of a potential administrative furlough from April.

“Without the Republic of Korea’s continued commitment to share the cost of employing our Korean National workforce, USFK will soon exhaust programmed funds available to pay their salaries and wages,’’ USFK said.

Meanwhile, the notice was sent 60 days in advance of the potential commencement date for the leave.

However, it could only come into effect if the two sides were unable to negotiate an agreement over the next couple of weeks.

The U.S. has long been demanding that its allies increase their financial support for its military presence.

Washington asked Seoul to raise their share to up to $5 billion annually, more than five times its current share.

The U.S. Ambassador, Harry Harris, recently said that Washington had softened its position.

Korea has also rejected Washington’s demand to discuss sharing the cost of transporting U.S. soldiers to and from South Korea.

Instead, the country asked that the framework of the previous agreement, which had been in effect for 28 years, remain in force.

(dpa/NAN)


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