Trump demands that South Korea pay about 500% more in 2020 to cover the costs of maintaining US troops on the peninsula.
The price hike has disappointed the Pentagon officials and the US government According to military officials and congressional assistants, Republican and Democratic lawmakers are deeply concerned. It has upset and upset Seoul, where leaders are questioning US commitment to their alliance and wondering if Trump will pull US forces out if they do not pay.
"Nothing says I love you like a shakedown," says Vipin Narang, associate professor at MIT, which follows the Korean Peninsula, summarizing South Korea's uncertainty over the US.
In the US, consultants to the congress and Korea Experts familiar with the talks said the US $ 4.7 billion demand had come out of nowhere. State and Defense officials have endeavored to justify the number with a series of new charges, including paying for Seoul. Some costs for US personnel on the peninsula and troops and equipment going mad.
Negotiations are under way as North Korean threats drive arms development and deepen Seoul's concerns. On Thursday, Pyongyang condemned joint military exercises between the US and South Korea and said they were "angry" and threatened to react with "force of nature."
According to Bruce Klingner, a senior Heritage Foundation official, North Korea has already fired 24 missiles this year, each in violation of UN resolutions. This is equivalent to the country's annual record so far for firing projectiles that threaten South Korea and Japan.
Germany, France and the United Kingdom recently condemned Pyongyang for launch, saying they undermined regional security and stability. The South Korean government leaders are aware that Trump has downplayed the launches and says he is "not at all" concerned about them.
"There are a lot of tough feelings," Klingner said of South Korea's views on the US, adding that "people question the viability of the US as an ally."