U.S. rejects call to first address Korean workers’ wage issue in defense cost talks: official
SEOUL, The United States has officially opposed a proposal for a separate deal to fund wages for South Korean workers in the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK), Seoul’s top negotiator in the allies’ defense cost-sharing talks said Saturday.
During the latest talks in Los Angeles, South Korea had pushed for the proposal, as thousands of the workers face furloughs that could start on April 1 absent the cost-sharing deal, called the Special Measures Agreement (SMA).
“We proposed a memorandum of understanding to ensure that the workers will receive their pay and strongly demanded that this be first addressed,” Seoul’s top negotiator Jeong Eun-bo told reporters upon arrival at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul.
“The U.S. side officially opposed that proposal on the grounds that there is a possibility that (a separate negotiation on the wage issue) could further delay the negotiations (for a broader SMA),” he added.
Source: Yonhap News Agency