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S. Korea, US to hold 3rd round of defense cost-sharing negotiations in Washington next week

June 8, 2024 - 10:22 By Yonhap
US Forces Korea (Getty Images)

WASHINGTON -- South Korea and the United States will hold their third round of cost sharing negotiations for stationing US Forces Korea (USFK) in Washington next week, the chief US negotiator said Friday.

Linda Specht, senior advisor and US lead negotiator for security agreements at the State Department, said that the two sides will have the negotiations over the cost-sharing deal, called the Special Measures Agreement (SMA) from Monday through Wednesday. The South Korean delegation is led by Lee Tae-woo, former consul general in Sydney.

"The delegation expects to continue working toward a common objective of a mutually acceptable agreement that advances our shared security," she said in a statement.

The two sides have been in talks to negotiate the 12th SMA as the current six-year SMA is set to expire at the end of next year.

They launched the negotiations in April earlier than expected amid speculation that should former President Donald Trump return to the White House, he could call for a hefty increase in Seoul's share of the cost for the upkeep of the 28,500-strong USFK in a way that could cause tension in the alliance.

Since 1991, Seoul has partially shared the cost for Korean USFK workers; the construction of military installations, such as barracks, as well as training, educational, operational and communications facilities; and other logistical support. (Yonhap)