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U.S. names new envoy for defense cost-sharing talks

All News 23:47 August 03, 2020

By Lee Haye-ah

WASHINGTON, Aug. 3 (Yonhap) -- The U.S. State Department has named a new envoy for defense cost-sharing negotiations with South Korea and other nations, a department spokesperson said Monday.

Donna Welton, assistant chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan, will succeed Jim DeHart, who was appointed last week as the U.S. coordinator for the Arctic region.

"As Mr. DeHart's successor, Ms. Welton will pick up where Jim left off in regards to the ROK Special Measures Agreement, the Japan Host Nation Support Agreement, and all other defense cooperation and burden sharing negotiations we conduct worldwide," the spokesperson told Yonhap News Agency, referring to South Korea by its official name, the Republic of Korea.

Defense cost-sharing negotiations between Seoul and Washington have been deadlocked for months amid U.S. demands for a significant increase in South Korea's contribution to the cost of stationing 28,500 American troops on the peninsula.

Under the previous one-year agreement, which lapsed at the end of December, South Korea agreed to pay US$870 million.

This year the U.S. is known to be requesting $1.3 billion a year, a 50 percent increase on last year, while South Korea maintains it can only increase its payment by 13 percent.

This photo from the website of the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan shows Donna Welton. (Yonhap)

hague@yna.co.kr
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