South Korea Signs Defence Agreement With China as US Angers Seoul With Demand for $5bn ‘Protection’ Payment

Agree to open more communication channels between the two militaries

The defence ministers of South Korea and China have agreed to develop their security ties to ensure stability in north-east Asia, the latest indication that Washington’s long-standing alliances in the region are fraying. 

On the sidelines of regional security talks in Bangkok on Sunday, Jeong Kyeong-doo, the South Korean minister of defence, and his Chinese counterpart, Wei Fenghe, agreed to set up more military hotlines and to push ahead with a visit by Mr Jeong to China next year to “foster bilateral exchanges and cooperation in defence”, South Korea’s defence ministry said.

Seoul’s announcement coincided with growing resentment at the $5 billion (£3.9bn) annual fee that Washington is demanding to keep 28,500 US troops in South Korea.

That figure is a sharp increase from the $923 million that Seoul paid this year, which was an 8 per cent increase on the previous year.

An editorial in Monday’s edition of The Korea Times warned that the security alliance between the two countries “may fall apart due to Washington’s blatantly excessive demands”. 

Mr Trump has previously threatened to withdraw US troops if his demands are not met, with the editorial accusing the president of regarding the Korea-US mutual defence treaty “as a property deal to make money”.

The vast majority of Koreans agree, with a recent survey by the Korea Institute for National Reunification showing that 96 per cent of people are opposed to Seoul paying more for the US military presence. 

There is also irritation at the pressure that Washington is applying to the South to make Seoul sign an extension to a three-way agreement on sharing military information with the US and Japan.

The General Security of Military Information Agreement is due to expire at midnight on November 23 and South Korea insists that it will only agree to an extension if Japan cancels restrictions on exports of chemicals critical to the South’s microchip industry.

Japan is widely believed to have imposed the restrictions as the latest incident in its troubled relationship with South Korea, which includes the issue of compensation for labourers put to work during Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

The two nations’ defence ministers held discussions with Mark Esper, the US defence secretary, at the weekend but hopes that a breakthrough might materialise came to nothing.

Just days before an agreement designed to protect the allies from North Korean belligerence runs out, Tokyo and Seoul merely reiterated their long-held positions.

The US demanded in July that Japan pay $8 billion a year to keep 54,000 US military personnel in the country, Foreign Policy reported late last week.

Tokyo currently contributes $2 billion a year to US military costs in Japan.

“This kind of demand, not only the exorbitant number, but the way it is being done, could trigger anti-Americanism”, Bruce Klinger, an analyst at the Heritage Foundation think tank, told Foreign Policy.

“If you weaken alliances, and potentially decrease deterrence and US troop presence, that benefits North Korea, China and Russia, who see the potential for reduced US influence and support for our allies”.

Daniel Pinkston, a professor of international relations at the Seoul campus of Troy University, was more blunt in his assessment.

“It’s just extortion”, he told The Telegraph. “It’s little more than a mob boss going around and demanding protection money. The numbers that the US is demanding are politically impossible for Seoul and Tokyo to swallow and that is just fuelling resentment.”

Source: The Telegraph

  1. Padre says

    In other words, USA is “protecting” them from North Korea, China and Russia?Why do they need that kind of protection, because they are number 1, 2 and 3 enemies of the USA?

  2. Undecider says

    That would be amazing if China ushered the U.S. military out of South Korea.

  3. thomas malthaus says

    In light of the Hong Kong riots, this might be relevant.

    It has been six long months for Chinese authorities. The question that has probably crossed their minds, but I’ve not seen publicly elaborated by any one in particular: Is the US focused on destroying Hong Kong as a city and/or China’s financial nerve center?

    1. Canosin says

      Hong Kong is long past as the China financial center….. it’s a dispensable city… for China it’s Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chengdu and Singapore…. HongKong is history….. and only a pebble in the Chinese shoe….

    2. Gonzogal says

      The US WILL destroy Hong Kong as long as it thinks it is harming China and interrupting BRI.
      China can always use Shenzhen as its financial nerve centre

      1. Canosin says

        100 percent agree to your observations

  4. Joe says

    But, but, but I thought Trump was playing 4-D chess??? LOL

  5. kaptaan says

    These countries have been riding American military coattails while America’s been getting the benefit of what exactly? Defeat communism? Things have changed and now it’s a transactional relationship. There has to be mutual benefit, not just token participating in military alliance. Japan and South Korea should see what the world looks like for them without USA presence in the neighborhood. See how far they get. It’ll be good for them and for USA. USA should bring all the troops home from all these countries.

    1. Linda Wren says

      Tell me, just how many troops WW do you think will actually want to return?

  6. All_has_An _END_. says

    wow my comment was marked as spam ???
    You lost my support

  7. thomas malthaus says

    I would dispense with compensating the US and dare them to withdraw. They won’t and we all know it.

  8. John Rourke says

    look for regime change in South Korea.

  9. All_has_An _END_. says

    Seoul’s announcement coincided with growing resentment at the $5 billion
    (£3.9bn) annual fee that Washington is demanding to keep 28,500 US
    troops in South Korea.

    When I read that , I felt like I was reading a history book about Rome right before the Fall
    The Empire knows it is SUPER Broke, they are going to request this to all the vassal states . Japan you are next

  10. DarkEyes says

    A logical and clever move now. Away from dependency on US.
    Agreements with US have no value anymore. if ever had?

    China – South Korea agreement is a good agreement for East Asia.
    And for North Korea as well.

  11. LS says

    Things are moving so fast now that in 10 years America is going to be just another Brazil or Argentina.

    1. Canosin says

      a lot faster….. and hoppla….. it’s the new shithole country like Bangladesch … say in max 3 years from now…..

    2. Gonzogal says

      It will happen A LOT sooner than 10 years!

    3. Joe says

      First sane thing you utter.

    4. Linda Wren says

      Not that long I fear

  12. ArcAngel says

    The World continues to move East.
    Japan is 100% Occupied Territory, and so is just a US vassal. It Peoples be damned.
    But there seems to something different with Korea… even though the South is occupied,.
    Perhaps it has to do with a divided country, and a underlying current in a minority, to be whole again… this would be at the Peoples/Human/Family Level, not at the political, although that may be changing.
    I would not doubt at all the South Koreans moving towards the Chinese realm and away from the Death Cult US.
    Time will tell.

  13. All_has_An _END_. says

    Germany, South Korea, Japan, India, Turkey : The vassal states are slowly turning their back to the empire
    Very telling

    1. kaptaan says

      Since when is India a vassal state? They’ve been buying Ruschian military equipment for ages.Lols.

      1. All_has_An _END_. says

        Research : Blue Dot & RCEP
        Why did Modi pull out of RCEP in favor of the Murikans treaty Blue Dot
        You cant have it both ways ,Modi needs to decide stick with his masters or go for equal partnership

        The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP),

        1. Canosin says

          India wants to play (betray) with everyone…..

    2. Canosin says

      one exception….. India is not a US vassal….. yet…. and if it happens to become one, ooh boy ohh boy…… poor American 🤣😂😅

  14. Jedi says

    Money money money.
    Always about money, from personal relationships to national relationships.
    So tiring but I also need money.

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