SEOUL (Reuters) – The U.S. military will put nearly 9,000 South Korean workers on unpaid leave starting in April if no agreement is reached to share the cost of keeping 28,500 U.S. troops in South Korea, it told the government. Japan is expected to begin negotiations on cost-sharing in the defense sector at the end of this year or early next year. Tokyo will argue that it is far from being a «parasite,» mainly because it makes major purchases of F-35s and the U.S. Aegis Ashore missile defense system. But Bosack said those purchases won`t appear directly in the troops` cost-sharing balance sheet. The United States will host the Republic of Korea (ROK) from October 22-24 in Honolulu, Hawaii, for consultations on the Special Measures Agreement (SMA). The SMA, a kind of burden-sharing agreement, is the mechanism by which the Republic of Korea shares the costs of the U.S. armed forces for the defense of the Republic of Korea.
The United States has had ASMOs with the Republic of Korea since 1991 and this new agreement will replace the current ADM, which expires at the end of 2019. Although high-ranking members of his administration have repeatedly tried to convince Trump that the U.S. is getting huge national security benefits by deploying troops to Japan and South Korea, the president is determined to get more from both countries, not least because both countries have trade surpluses with the United States. The workers, mostly employed at U.S. bases, were placed on unpaid leave in April, resulting in a temporary agreement in June for South Korea to fund about 4,000. 5.