U.S., South Korea Fail To Reach Deal On Troops

U.S. Troops Conduct Military Exercises In Pocheon

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA — The U.S. has failed to reach an agreement with South Korea on the cost of keeping U.S. troops in the country.

The existing deal between the two countries expires on December 31st, and negotiations that ended Wednesday in Seoul were the last talks scheduled this year.

South Korean lawmakers have said Washington wants up to $5 billion dollars a year for the U.S. to keep 28,000 troops in the country.

A survey released Monday found that South Koreans overwhelmingly oppose paying more.The White House has been negotiating for a 400% increase to what Seoul is currently paying to house US troops.

In a statement, South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, "the two sides are expanding the degree of mutual understanding through discussions despite differences in positions on various issues, and agreed to continue close consultations for a mutually acceptable agreement."

The next round of talks are scheduled for January 2020.

This comes as The U.S. turns over four military bases to South Korea in the biggest handover since 2015.

The U.S. command in South Korea has completely vacated and closed 13 other military sites ready for return.

The U.S. also has started the process of turning over the former American military headquarters in the heart of Seoul.That property, known as Yongsan Garrison, is prime real estate that South Korea envisions turning into Seoul's version of Central Park in New York City.

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