Just as President Donald Trump looks to make peace with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, his administration is putting fresh strain on the U.S.’s seven-decade alliance with South Korea.
At issue is the Trump administration’s insistence that South Korea accepts as much as a 50 percent increase in what it pays for U.S. military protection, including subsidizing the nuclear-capable bombers stationed thousands of miles away on Guam. The dispute caused their cost-sharing deal to lapse on Dec. 31 and, if it’s not renewed soon, South Korean civilian personnel will face furloughs like the ones that just ended in Washington.
The prospect of getting a deal before an April 15 deadline seems poor, according to a South Korean official familiar with the talks. South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s negotiators have sought help from people outside the direct talks, including U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, said the official, who asked not to be named due to sensitivities of the discussions.
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