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S. Korea, US End Latest Defense Cost-Sharing Talks Without Tangible Outcome

Write: 2019-12-06 15:14:49Update: 2019-12-06 16:03:46

S. Korea, US End Latest Defense Cost-Sharing Talks Without Tangible Outcome

Photo : YONHAP News

Anchor: The latest round of Seoul and Washington's talks on renewing their defense cost-sharing deal wrapped up in Washington with no tangible results. On his way back home, South Korea's top negotiator said both sides maintained their positions on raising Seoul's contribution.
Choi You Sun has the details.

Report: South Korea's chief envoy in defense cost-sharing talks with the U.S. said the allies fell short of producing a concrete result in this week's negotiations.

Speaking to reporters at Washington's Dulles International Airport on Thursday, following two days of negotiations, Jeong Eun-bo said they are in a situation where they need to narrow differences while expanding mutual understanding.

He also revealed that the U.S. continued to demand a significant increase in South Korea's burden-sharing.

During the previous rounds of talks, Washington reportedly demanded a fivefold increase in Seoul's annual contribution to stationing American troops on the Korean Peninsula from just over 870 million dollars this year to nearly five billion dollars.

It's believed the U.S. is demanding expenditures related to the countries' combined military exercises, additional pay for U.S. troops and support for their families.

Jeong said Seoul maintains its position that its share should be decided within the framework of their Special Measures Agreement(SMA), which includes payment for South Korean employees of U.S. Forces Korea, military construction and logistical support.

Regarding U.S. President Donald Trump's recent remarks suggesting the U.S. could take trade measures against countries not contributing enough to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Jeong said neither trade nor downsizing U.S. troops on the peninsula were discussed.

When asked if it will be difficult to strike a deal before the current SMA expires on December 31, the South Korean envoy said the allies are trying hard to conclude negotiations before the year ends.

Jeong and his U.S. counterpart, James DeHart, are expected to continue talks in Seoul later this month.
Choi You Sun, KBS World Radio News.

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