Published: Sun, October 20, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

University students break into USA ambassador's residence in Seoul

University students break into USA ambassador's residence in Seoul

University students invaded the US ambassador's residence in Seoul on Friday using ladders to climb over the compound's wall.

Harris was not present in the compound at the time, having attended a diplomatic ceremony at the Blue House at the invitation of President Moon Jae-in.

They were protesting demands by the Trump administration that South Korea pay more to help cover the costs of keeping USA troops in the country.

Approximately 20 Korean nationals illegally entered the official residential compound of the U.S. Ambassador and attempted to forcibly enter the residence itself, said William Coleman, spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Seoul said in a statement on Saturday.

After the incident, Seoul police dispatched 80 more officers to beef up security of the envoy's home, according to Yonhap.

"19 arrested. Cats are OK", the tweet read.

South Korean police in September a year ago detained a Chinese woman who had trespassed into the residence, but said she wasn't making a political statement.

The U.S. Embassy subsequently expressed grave concern at the incident, calling on the Korean government to strengthen security for all foreign diplomats.

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"Any harm or attack on such a diplomatic mission can not be justified under any circumstances, and the government will take all appropriate measures to protect the missions and prevent any acts that disturb their well-being", the ministry said in a statement. It said the government will take "every appropriate measure" to protect the facilities.

The group mentioned they had been motivated by Washington's insistence that Seoul ought to pay to maintain United States troops on its soil.

There was a major security scare in 2015, when a leftist activist slashed the face and arm of then-U.S. Ambassador Mark Lippert on a street in downtown Seoul to protest the annual U.S.

Earlier this year, the two allies reached a one-year cost-sharing deal for maintaining about 28,500 American troops in South Korea. Lippert recovered from the injuries.

A fresh round of talks will be held in Hawaii on October 23-24 to negotiate a deal that will replace one due to expire at the end of this year, the foreign ministry said.

Friday's protest came as Washington and Seoul prepare to begin negotiations over sharing the costs for the US military presence.

Under the current SMA, reached after months of wrangling, Seoul agreed to pay 1.04 trillion won, 8.2 percent more than what it spent previous year.

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