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S. Korea, U.S. to start military cost-sharing talks this week

All Headlines 10:59 March 05, 2018

SEOUL, March 5 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the United States will open negotiations this week to renew their cost-sharing agreement for about 28,500 American troops stationed here, the foreign ministry said Monday.

The first round of meetings will be held in Honolulu, Hawaii, from Wednesday to Friday. The current arrangement signed in 2014 is set to expire on Dec. 31.

The talks will be led by Chang Won-sam, a career diplomat who was appointed in mid-November to head the negotiation team, and Timothy Betts, deputy assistant secretary for plans, programs and operations at the U.S. State Department.

"The two sides will discuss to produce a reasonable pact that can help strengthen the joint defense readiness of South Korea and the U.S. and be accepted by our people," the ministry said.

South Korea has shared the upkeep costs of U.S. Forces Korea since 1991. Its contribution has increased to around 960 billion won ($887.5 million) this year from some 150 billion won in 1991. The U.S. has asked for Seoul to shoulder more. Some speculate that the U.S. will demand that Korea more than double its payment.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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