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S. Korea, U.S. sit down to finalize defense cost accord

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Published : 2014-01-11 12:25
Updated : 2014-01-11 12:25

South Korea and the United States plan to resume their talks Saturday on sharing the cost of keeping 28,500 U.S. troops here with a view to finalizing a deal, defense sources said.

The two parties are anticipated to come up with a final deal to end the 10th round of their negotiations that started Thursday to renew the latest five-year Special Measure Agreement (SMA).

The two allies have so far failed to bridge their differences for a renewal, including the size of Seoul's contributions and rules to enhance transparency in the use of the defense funds.

Since forging their first SMA in 1991, South Korea has shouldered part of the defense cost, and its share has increased every few years when the military agreement was renewed. The latest deal inked in 2009 expired last year.

The U.S. has reportedly demanded South Korea contribute about 950 billion won (US$892.3 million) under a new agreement, up 9.2 percent from the 869.5 billion won that Seoul paid last year under the previous agreement, citing increased North Korean threats and U.S. budget difficulties.

Seoul, however, has been reluctant to give in to the U.S. demand, saying it can settle for around 900 billion won.(Yonhap News)



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