In talks with Trump, Moon vows ‘reasonable’ sharing of defense cost

NEW YORK-- South Korean President Moon Jae-in told U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday that his government is open to sharing the cost of the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) on a "reasonable and fair" level, a Cheong Wa Dae official said after their summit here.

Moon was apparently responding to Trump's call for South Korea to sharply increase its financial contribution to maintaining the 28,500-strong USFK.

Moon and Trump discussed the issue of the upcoming 11th Special Measures Agreement negotiations during their summit at the InterContinental New York Barclay Hotel.

Moon "emphasized a reasonable level of fair sharing" of the cost, the official told reporters on background.

Moon cited a steady increase in South Korea's spending on national defense, purchase of U.S. weapons and its sharing of the USFK cost, the official added.

The South Korean president briefed Trump on Seoul's purchase of American military equipment over the past decade and its plan to buy more in the next three years.

Moon and Trump also reaffirmed a commitment to avoiding the use of military force against North Korea and offering a better future for the communist nation if it denuclearizes, according to the official.

But they did not touch on the sensitive subject of Seoul's decision not to renew a bilateral accord with Japan on exchanging military information, he added.

The summit, the ninth between the two leaders, lasted about an hour, far longer than scheduled.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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