President Donald Trump said Wednesday that South Korea has agreed to pay the United States "substantially more" for protection against North Korea and that talks have begun to further increase payments.
"If we're negotiating with the North Koreans while simultaneously demonstrating that we are shaky in our defense commitment to the South Koreans, that gives the North Koreans tremendous leverage", he said in a telephone interview.
The official Korean Central News Agency said two missiles launched from a western airfield flew across the country and over the area surrounding the capital, Pyongyang, before accurately hitting an island target off its eastern coast.
The DPRK has reiterated on several occasions that its nuclear programme is defensive in the face of threats from the United States and its allies.
"Over the past many decades, the USA has been paid very little by South Korea", Trump wrote.
"South Korea and I have made a deal where they're paying a lot more money and they're going to pay a lot more money".
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Those drills are taking place despite Pyongyang's warnings that the exercises would jeopardize nuclear negotiations between the United States and North Korea.
"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", Trump claimed in the tweet.
South Korea's Foreign Ministry says cost-sharing talks have not officially started.
There is speculation that Trump sent the tweet about an imaginary success to divert attention from two mass shootings that have rocked the U.S.in the last few days, one of which was expressly inspired by Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric. "But they don't pay for the costs of our own military equipment or personnel", Sathasivam said in an email.
Trump's financial demands have triggered worries in South Korea that he might withdraw some of the 28,500 us troops.
US Defence Secretary Mark Esper, on his first tour of Asia, said during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo that North Korea remained of great concern. It said the projectiles showed similar flight characteristics to short-range missiles North Korea fired July 25.
Trump's rhetoric also puts South Korean President Moon Jae-in in a tough spot, Oba said.