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S. Korea, U.S. aim for deal next week on sharing USFK cost

Defense 14:10 November 09, 2018

SEOUL, Nov. 9 (Yonhap) --- South Korea said Friday it will hold another round of negotiations with the United States next week on sharing the cost of stationing American troops on the peninsula.

The two sides are running out of time for an agreement. The existing accord is to expire at the end of this year.

South Korean officials said they aim to strike a deal in the four-day talks to open in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Tuesday.

It would mark the 9th round of negotiations the Special Measures Agreement (SMA).

"South Korea and the U.S. plan to have in-depth consultations to coordinate their stances on the basis of what was discussed in the previous session," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Chang Won-sam (R), South Korea's top negotiator in defense cost-sharing talks with the United States, shakes hands with his counterpart, Timothy Betts, in a file photo provided by Seoul's foreign ministry. (Yonhap)

At issue is Washington's call for a sharp increase in Seoul's contribution.

Washington has called for Seoul to significantly increase its contribution from the current 960 billion won (US$851 million) a year to support the stationing of the 28,500-strong U.S. Forces Korea.

The U.S. wants South Korea to pay, at least partly, for the regular or emergency deployment of so-called strategic assets to Korea.

The assets include advanced U.S. weapon systems, such stealth fighters, aircraft carriers and nuclear subs.

Senior diplomats of the allies had four days of meetings in Seoul last month.

South Korea is represented by Chang Won-sam, a career diplomat who served as ambassador to Sri Lanka, and his counterpart is Timothy Betts, deputy assistant secretary of state for plans, programs and operations.


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