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S. Korea urges U.S. to resolve furlough issue first in defense cost talks

All Headlines 16:04 February 28, 2020

SEOUL, Feb. 28 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's chief defense cost negotiator urged the United States on Friday to accept Seoul's proposal that the two sides conclude a deal on personnel expenditures first so as to prevent South Korean employees of the U.S. military from being furloughed.

Jeong Eun-bo made the remark after U.S. Forces Korea issued a 30-day advance notice to thousands of South Korean employees that they will be furloughed on April 1 unless a defense cost-sharing deal covering their wages is concluded in time.

"The government has proposed to the U.S. that the two sides sign a memorandum of exchange first to resolve the issue of paying salaries to Korean workers," he said at a press briefing in Seoul.

Since September, the two countries have held six rounds of negotiations. But they have yet to reach an agreement amid Washington's demand for a sharp increase in Seoul's financial contribution.


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