April 25 (UPI) — North Korea condemned negotiations on U.S.-South Korea defense cost-sharing in a propaganda statement issued online Wednesday.
Propaganda outlet DPRK Today criticized the United States as using the alliance and the Special Measures Agreement with South Korea as tools to “dominate” and “plunder” the peninsula.
North Korea said “suffering” South Koreans were anticipating an “increase in pressure from the United States” to undertake a greater share of the financial burden of U.S. troops in the South.
“Every time negotiations occur, the amount the South Korean authorities must undertake snowballs. It is now approaching 1 trillion [South Korean] won,” DPRK Today stated.
The meetings have been held 10 times, with the most recent negotiations concluding mid-April.
The South agreed to pay $887.5 million as part of the renewal of the cost-sharing deal, the Korea Times reported.
South Korea’s share of the burden has also grown since 1991, when Seoul paid about $138 million.
North Korea also lambasted the United States for suggesting South Korea pay for the U.S. missile defense system THAAD, calling the move “highway robbery” in the statement.
“They have cast aside earlier promises to pay for the operating costs for THAAD and are now showing a disposition to pass the costs on to the South Korean authorities.”
U.S. President Donald Trump had suggested earlier in his presidency that South Korea pay for the cost of THAAD.
The statement from North Korea comes two days ahead of an inter-Korea summit, and rising expectations the summit will bring major developments.
Bloomberg reported Tuesday economic benefits would be greater for the North than the South if businesses are allowed to invest in the cash-strapped North.
“The peace dividend would have immediate and immense benefits for North Korea, rather than South Korea, and that is why Kim Jong Un is pushing this,” said Thomas Byrne, president of the Korea Society in New York.