S. Korea, US to hold defense cost talks in Hawaii next week
South Korea and the United States plan to hold a new round of negotiations on sharing the cost of the upkeep for the 28,500-strong US Forces Korea in Hawaii next week, Seoul's foreign ministry said Friday.
Seoul's top negotiator, Jeong Eun-bo, and his US counterpart, James Dehart, will meet in Honolulu on Wednesday and Thursday. The last round of talks took place in Seoul last month.
South Korean and US negotiators hold the first round of new Special Measures Agreement talks in downtown Seoul on Sept. 24. (The Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
"Based on the stance that our government will shoulder the fair share of defense costs at a reasonable level, we will hold close consultations with the U.S. side," the ministry said in a press release.
"The government expects that the talks will proceed in a direction that will strengthen the South Korea-US alliance and the combined defense posture," it added.
This year's Special Measures Agreement, the defense cost-sharing deal, is to expire at the end of the year. Since 1991, Seoul has shouldered partial costs under the SMA -- for Korean civilians hired by the USFK, the construction of military facilities to maintain the allies' readiness and other forms of support. (Yonhap)