S. Korea, U.S. to hold defense cost talks next week
SEOUL, Dec. 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the United States will try to reach a deal on splitting defense costs in another round of Special Measures Agreement (SMA) talks in Seoul next week.
The 10th round of negotiations will be held Tuesday through Thursday, as the allies are running out of time for a deal, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The existing accord on sharing the financial burden for the presence of the 28,500-strong U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) is to expire at the end of this year.
A sticking point is Washington's push for a sharp increase in Seoul's contribution.
South Korea has contributed 960 billion won (US$859 million) to USFK upkeep this year alone.
Previous SMA negotiations were held in Honolulu, Jeju, Washington D.C., Seoul and Seattle earlier this year.
"The two sides plan to have in-depth consultations to fine-tune their position on the basis of what was discussed in the previous meetings," the ministry said.
Chang Won-sam, a career diplomat who served as ambassador to Sri Lanka, will lead South Korea's negotiating team and his counterpart will be Timothy Betts, deputy assistant secretary of state for plans, programs and operations.
Source: Yonhap News Agency