US, South Korea fail to agree on defence spendings

US, South Korea fail to agree on defence spendings

U.S. Army M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzers are seen during a military exercise in Pocheon, South Korea, March 10, 2016. (Reuters)

The United States on Tuesday broke off talks on increasing South Korea’s share of the cost of hosting a US military contingent after the two sides failed to narrow differences in a row that has raised questions about the US deployment.

The breakdown in talks was a rare public disagreement in their 66-year alliance, with each side blaming the other for being unprepared to compromise on sharing the cost of keeping 28,500 US troops in South Korea as a deterrent to North Korea.

“It is true that there is a substantial difference between the US side’s overall proposal and the principles we pursue,” South Korean negotiator Jeong Eun-bo told a news conference. “The talks could not proceed as planned as the US side left first.”

US President Donald Trump has insisted that South Korea pay more for the US troops - he has also suggested pulling them out altogether - testing an alliance that has for decades formed a buffer against North Korean aggression.