ChinaDaily 11-12
US top brass acknowledges gaping bridge with allies over military costs
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Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shakes hands with US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley prior to their talks at Abe's office in Tokyo on Nov 12, 2019. [ Photo/Agencies ]

WASHINGTON - US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley acknowledged the gap between the US public and allies over military costs, as he embarked on a trip to visit US allies in Asia.

According to a Pentagon press release Monday, Milley addressed the scrutiny over spending on military stationed in South Korea and Japan.

"The average American looking at the forward deployed US troops in South Korea and Japan ask some fundamental questions: Why are they needed there? How much does it cost? These are very rich and wealthy countries, why can't they defend themselves?" Milley was quoted as saying.

"These are main street USA questions," he said.

The sentiment was catapulted to the center stage by US President Donald Trump, who tweeted in August that Seoul has under-payed the United States for protection.

"Over the past many decades, the US has been paid very little by South Korea," Trump tweeted. "South Korea is a very wealthy nation that now feels an obligation to contribute to the military defense provided by the United States of America."

Fueled by the growing discontent, the United States entered talks with South Korea to renegotiate the cost-sharing terms for US Forces Korea, reportedly demanding a five-fold increase in South Korea's contribution.

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