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S. Korea, U.S. hold defense cost-sharing talks

All News 08:32 January 15, 2020

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the United States opened a new round of talks Tuesday on sharing the cost of the upkeep of 28,500 American troops stationed on the Korean Peninsula.

The two teams, led by Jeong Eun-bo on the South Korean side and James DeHart on the U.S. side, met in Washington for the sixth round of negotiations on renewing the countries' Special Measures Agreement.

Details of their discussions were not immediately available as both sides kept the negotiations tightly under wraps.

Arriving in Washington on Monday, Jeong told reporters that the two sides are narrowing their differences but still remain apart on how to reach a "comprehensive" deal.

Washington has demanded a significant increase in Seoul's financial contributions this year, along with additional cost categories, including payments for rotational troop deployments to the peninsula.

South Korea has maintained that the negotiations should proceed within the framework of the previous SMA, which expired at the end of December.

The two sides are slated to continue talks Wednesday.

This photo, provided by South Korea's foreign ministry, shows Jeong Eun-bo (R), Seoul's chief negotiator for the Special Measures Agreement, shaking hands with his U.S. counterpart, James DeHart, at the sixth round of negotiations in Washington on Jan. 14, 2020. (Yonhap)

hague@yna.co.kr
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