South Koreans largely optimistic about Trump-Kim summit

US President Donald Trump at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda Maryland on Friday

Negotiators held 10 rounds of talks a year ago but remained deadlocked over President Donald Trump's demand that the South pay significantly more.

The administration had demanded the South Koreans pay $1.2 billion, but Seoul balked at that amount.

South Korea will pay the U.S. 1.04 trillion won ($924 million) as a contribution for maintaining 28,500 American troops in the region for a year, after a deal was signed in Seoul on Sunday.

But South Korean officials yesterday told Yonhap news agency that the United States had affirmed it would not be changing its troop presence.

A sign for the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics is displayed by a road leading into PyeongChang, on February 11, 2018, in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea.

Yesterday South Korea's Olympic committee voted that Seoul, rather than the competing city of Busan, would be the city to take part in the planned joint effort with Pyongyang. "But I have no plans, I've never even discussed removing them".

South Korean President Moon Jae-in spoke regularly with Trump before and after his first summit with Kim last June.

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South Korea signed a provisional agreement to pay around 1.04 trillion won this year for the stationing of U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) troops here, a rise of 8.2 percent year-on-year.

South Korea has hosted American troops since the two countries fought together against the communist-backed North in the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended in an armistice instead of a peace treaty. "But it's an important part, and we are very pleased that our consultations resulted in an agreement", Betts said. Their first summit in Singapore last June resulted in Kim's vague commitment to "complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula", a term that his propaganda machine previously used when it argued it would only denuclearize after the US withdraws its troops from South Korea.

The murder of Jong Nam at the KL International Airport 2 (klia2) in 2017 sparked diplomatic row between Malaysia and North Korea.

About 70 per cent of South Korea's contribution covers the salaries of some 8,700 South Korean employees who provide administrative, technical and other services to the USA military.

U.S. Forces Korea, the main command, said in its Strategic Digest that Seoul paid about 41 percent of the cost. Situated at the epicenter of one of the world's most geopolitically volatile regions, the Korean Peninsula is of particular strategic importance to US policy and posture across East Asia.

Late past year, the USA military had warned the South Korean employees on its bases that they may be put on leave from mid-April if no agreement was reached.

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