SEOUL         -        South Korea and the United States failed on Wednesday to agree on Seoul’s contribution towards hosting some 28,500 U.S. troops, but the U.S. side hinted after the two days of talks ended that it will no longer stick to its $5 billion demand. No deal by Dec. 31, when the current agreement expires, may result in a repeat of last year when the two countries

missed a year-end deadline

but reached a retroactive deal in the new year. The two sides next meet in January in the United States. U.S. President Donald Trump has accused South Korea of being a rich nation

that is profiting off the U.S. military forces, which are stationed

in the country as a legacy of the 1950-1953 Korean War and continued threats from North Korea. South Korean lawmakers

have said Washington is seeking up to $5 billion a year to support the troops - more than five times the amount Seoul agreed to pay this year. But the United States’ chief negotiator James DeHart told reporters after Wednesday’s meeting that “($5 billion) is not a number we are currently focused on in the negotiations ... when we reach an agreement, we will be in a position to explain that number and how we got there. We have been listening, we have been adjusting and we have been compromising, and we know that agreement ... when we reach the agreement, the figure will be different from our initial

proposal and probably different

from what we’ve heard from the Korean side so far,” he added. Some U.S. and Korean experts say no deal could