USA may demand ‘allies’ pay 150% for privilege of hosting troops

Washington Wants to Make Allies Pay Huge Premium for Hosting US Troops - Reports

Washington Wants to Make Allies Pay Huge Premium for Hosting US Troops - Reports

The White House is drawing up demands that Germany, Japan, South Korea and eventually every other country "hosting" United States troops on its soil pay "cost plus 50" - 150 percent - for their upkeep, including the soldiers' salaries, Bloomberg reports, citing "a dozen" sources in the Trump administration.

Several U.S. officials say the White House has asked the Defense Department to gather data on the costs of keeping troops other countries and how much those nations contribute to the expenses.

The news agencies said the officials were speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

Since taking office in January 2017, US President Donald Trump has repeatedly pressed other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member states to meet their annual defence spending obligations within the alliance.

Most NATO allies have a US presence, but there are larger bases and military populations in countries such as Germany, England, Japan, Italy, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain.

There are about 28,500 USA troops in South Korea.

Mr Trump upset negotiations with South Korea late previous year by demanding "cost plus 50", which means paying the full cost of deployment plus a further 50 per cent.

In January Trump said in a speech, "Wealth, wealthy countries that we're protecting are all under notice".

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Gordon Sondland, Trump's ambassador to the European Union, told Bloomberg it's all about making sure allies have "skin in the game".

National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis said that getting USA allies to "increase their investment in our collective defense and ensure fairer burden-sharing" has been a long-standing US goal.

At the National Security Council - where officials say the idea originated - officials declined to confirm or deny the proposal.

The U.S. could encounter challenges from allies who provide valuable bases that extend U.S. military reach, Wadhams and Jacobs say, and the White House may ease up on its demands if allies begin to question the need for U.S. troops on their soil.

"The Administration is committed to getting the best deal for the American people", Marquis said in a statement issued Friday. "The truth is they're there and we maintain them because they're in our interest". USA troops have been stationed in Japan and Germany since the end of the Second World War in 1945, and in South Korea since the ceasefire froze the Korean War in 1953.

Critics argue that the demand also misreads the benefits that overseas troop deployments bring to the U.S.

In Germany, for instance, the US relies on several crucial installations: the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and the Ramstein Air Base.

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