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S. Korea, U.S. hold first defense cost talks since U.S. election

Defense 08:34 December 01, 2020

SEOUL, Dec. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the United States held defense cost talks for the first time since the U.S. presidential election and reaffirmed their principle to seek a fair and mutually acceptable deal, the foreign ministry said Tuesday.

During the video talks held Monday night (Korea time), South Korea's chief negotiator Jeong Eun-bo and his U.S. counterpart Donna Welton agreed to "closely work together to swiftly reach an agreement that is fair and mutually acceptable," the ministry said.

The negotiations on determining Seoul's payment for maintaining the 28,500-strong U.S. Forces Korea have remained stalled amid Washington's call for a drastic increase in Seoul's share. Korea has offered a 13 percent raise as the maximum.

The last face-to-face talks between Jeong and his previous U.S. counterpart, James DeHart, took place in Los Angeles in March. Welton was appointed as DeHart's successor in July.

Jeong Eun-bo, South Korea's chief negotiator for defense cost sharing with the United States, speaks via video link to his U.S. counterpart, Donna Welton, in Seoul, in this photo provided by the foreign ministry on Nov. 30, 2020. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

elly@yna.co.kr
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