United States commander says N.Korea unlikely to give up all nuclear weapons

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha right and Timothy Betts acting Deputy Assistant Secretary and Senior Advisor for Security Negotiations and Agreements in the U.S. Department of State shake hands for the media before their meeting at Foreig

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha right and Timothy Betts acting Deputy Assistant Secretary and Senior Advisor for Security Negotiations and Agreements in the U.S. Department of State shake hands for the media before their meeting at Foreig

US President Donald Trump has said South Korea should pay more.

Yonhap said the United States had previously demanded 1.13 trillion won (US$1 billion) from South Korea.

About 28,500 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea, where the USA has maintained a military presence since the 1950-53 Korean War. Also, the deal was originally going to be for five years, . but the US insisted on just one year.

North Korea remains the No. 1 immediate threat to American forces in the Indo-Pacific Command area of operations, said Adm. Philip Davidson, the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command chief who testified alongside Abrams on Tuesday.

The president had been harping about South Korea not paying its fair share since the 2016 campaign, making this new agreement a clear victory for his policy of getting other nations to pay more for USA force protection.

Seoul contributed around 960 billion won previous year - more than 40 percent of the total bill - financing the construction of American military facilities and paying South Korean civilians working on United States bases.

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The allies worked to finalize an agreement in order to minimize the impact on South Koreans working on USA military bases, and focus on nuclear talks ahead of a second U.S.

Last month, US Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told Congress he believed it was unlikely North Korea would give up all its nuclear weapons and that it had continued activity inconsistent with pledges to denuclearize.

US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun held three days of talks in Pyongyang last week to prepare for the second summit, which he said would include discussion of such corresponding steps. North Korea has not announced which of its cities would join Seoul, but experts say it is likely to be Pyongyang. Washington's top negotiator, Betts, also met with South Korea's Foreign Minister, Kang Kyung-wha, before signing the agreement.

That summit is scheduled for February 27 and 28 in Hanoi, Vietnam. After the meeting, Trump suspended major joint military exercises with South Korea.

Hecker said it was understandable that North Korea should have continued its weapons work, given that it had reached no specific agreement in the latest talks with the United States to stop that work.

"Seoul will cooperate with the national government so that the 2023 summer Olympics become something more than a sports festival - an opportunity to change the fate of the Korean peninsula", said Seoul mayor Park Won-soon. Late past year, the US military had warned the South Korean employees on its bases that they may be put on leave from mid-April if no agreement was reached.

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