With Seoul and Washington still at odds over how much they should each pay for the upkeep of American troops in South Korea, the U.S. is reportedly warning of furloughs for South Korean employees at U.S. bases in the country.
Bloomberg on Thursday quoted U.S. officials as saying that they are required to give those workers 60 days’ advance notice that their pay might be cut off.
Maj. Gen. Stephen Williams, the chief of staff for USFK, sent a letter to the union of the South Korean workers last October, saying furloughs could take effect from April first if a deal-making is further protracted and that they will begin to receive advance notices by January 31st.
The two allies have held six rounds of talks so far for this year’s defense cost sharing but failed to agree over alleged U.S. demand to increase South Korea’s share of burden five times to five billion dollars.
Bloomberg said while the U.S. initially targeted more spending from its ally in the form of bigger purchase of U.S. defense equipment, but is now pressing Seoul to pay more for temporary troop rotations and transfer of wartime operational control.
The media outlet also said South Korea’s recent decision to send its naval unit to the Strait of Hormuz near Iran is appreciated by Washington but still is not counted as credit toward its shared defense payment.