The commander of USA forces in South Korea has said he has seen "little to no verifiable change" in North Korea's military capabilities, just weeks away from a second summit between Donald Trump and regime leader Kim Jong-un. Also, the deal was originally going to be for five years, . but the USA insisted on just one year.
"North Korea has made clear its stance [on denuclearization] repeatedly and sufficiently before, including in leader Kim's New Year's Day speech".
About 70 percent of South Korea's payment funds the salaries of some 8,700 South Korean workers who provide administrative, technical, and other services for the USA military. That follows an unprecedented June 11 summit of the two leaders in the wealthy city state of Singapore. Richard Blumenthal of CT said the first meeting led to "a stark and stunning lack of any action [or] progress".
But both sides worked to hammer out a deal to minimise the impact of the lapse on South Korean workers on US military bases, and focus on nuclear talks ahead of a second US-North Korea summit, Seoul officials said. Since the summit, Pyongyang has not tested any nuclear weapons or ballistic missiles.
Kim pledged in Singapore to work toward denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and in September expressed willingness to permanently dismantle facilities at his country's main nuclear site of Yongbyon - in return for corresponding USA moves.
The new deal must still be approved by South Korea's parliament, but it would boost its contribution to 1.03 trillion won (687.68 million pounds) from 960 billion won in 2018. South Korean officials pushed for a three-year deal keeping their annual contribution around $864 million.
"With only two weeks until the summit, it will be hard to resolve all the tricky issues, but there's a chance if we can agree on a timeline (for denuclearization)", a South Korean delegation member quoted Biegun as saying.
"The United States government realises that South Korea does a lot for our alliance and for peace and stability in this region", he said.
The State Department declined to comment.
This combined with production of perhaps 150 kg of highly enriched uranium may have allowed North Korea to increase the number of weapons in its arsenal by between five and seven, the Stanford report said. Most U.S. troops were withdrawn in 1949 but they returned the next year to fight alongside South Korea in the 1950-53 Korean War.
Trump has touted an optimistic view of North Korea - once proclaiming it was no longer a threat - since his first meeting with Kim.