STORE

South Korea, U.S. begin defense cost-sharing negotiations Wednesday

South Korea, U.S. begin defense cost-sharing negotiations Wednesday
UPI

SEOUL, March 7 (UPI) — South Korea and the United States will discuss splitting defense costs on Wednesday at the tenth round of Special Measures Agreement talks in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that career diplomat Chang Won-sam will represent South Korea while Deputy Assistant State Secretary of Programs of Operations Timothy Betts will lead the U.S. side during the three-day discussion.

The two allies have agreed on sharing defense costs in order to keep U.S. military forces in the South since 1991.

Around 28,500 U.S. soldiers are stationed in the South, with half of them paid for by the South Korean government.

Under the current five-year agreement which expires on Dec. 31 this year, South Korea contributes more than $887 million, according to KBS.

South Korea has also covered up to 92 percent of construction fees for the U.S.’s $10.7 billion Camp Humphreys, located south of Seoul.

With U.S. President Donald Trump having said last year that Seoul should pay $1 billion for cost-sharing from the next accord and the deployment of the U.S. THAAD anti-missile system to the South, observers expect U.S. officials to request South Korea to shoulder more costs.

A foreign ministry official said Tuesday that Seoul will do its best to forge an agreement that contributes to strengthening joint defense capabilities while proving to be “acceptable, reasonable and mutually beneficial.”

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