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United States says talks with South Korea underway over increasing defence costs

File photo: US President Donald Trump speaks alongside Vice President Mike Pence. Photograph:( AFP )

Reuters Washington, USA Aug 07, 2019, 04.35 PM (IST)

US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday talks have begun aimed at getting South Korea to pay more for the cost of maintaining US troops in the region to guard against any threat from North Korea.

"Talks have begun to further increase payments to the United States. South Korea is a very wealthy nation that now feels an obligation to contribute to the military defence provided by the United States of America," the Republican president said on Twitter.

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South Korea’s presidential Blue House did not immediately respond to request for comment on the talks.

Trump has repeatedly said Seoul should bear more of the burden for keeping some 28,500 US troops stationed in South Korea, where the United States has had a military presence since the 1950-53 Korean War.

South Korean and the US officials signed an agreement in February under which Seoul would increase its contribution to just under 1.04 trillion won ($927 million), an increase of about $70.3 million.

The interim agreement was due to expire in a year.