S.Korea, US sign cost-sharing deal for US forces in S.Korea

Source:Xinhua Published: 2019/2/10 15:18:52

South Korea and the United States on Sunday signed a deal to share defense costs for US forces stationed in South Korea, according to local media reports.

The signing ceremony was held at the South Korean foreign ministry's headquarters in Seoul, with Chang Won-sam and Timothy Betts, top negotiators from both sides, in attendance.

Under the revised Special Measures Agreement (SMA) that stipulates a cost-sharing between Seoul and Washington for the US Forces Korea (USFK), South Korea will pay 1.04 trillion won (925 million US dollars) this year.

It was an 8.2 percent increase from the previous year. South Korea paid 960 billion won (854 million US dollars) in 2018 for the USFK stationing.

Washington had reportedly demanded Seoul make a financial contribution of at least 1 billion US dollars.

Instead of the US concession in the amount, the revised SMA will be effective for only one year. The previous deals were signed for the five-year commitment. The latest SMA expired at the end of last year.

Because of the one-year deal, the two allies were forecast to launch negotiations for a new SMA in the second half of this year.

About 28,500 US troops are stationed here as a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War that ended with armistice. The South Korean contribution is used to pay wages for South Korean civilian workers who are employed by the USFK, construction costs for US bases and logistics support expenses.


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