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Cabinet approves recently concluded S. Korea-US defense cost sharing deal

In this file photo, Jeong Eun-bo (L), South Korea's chief negotiator in defense cost-sharing talks with the United States, and his US counterpart, Donna Welton (R), engage in the latest round of negotiations in Washington on March 7, 2021, in this photo provided by the foreign ministry. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
In this file photo, Jeong Eun-bo (L), South Korea's chief negotiator in defense cost-sharing talks with the United States, and his US counterpart, Donna Welton (R), engage in the latest round of negotiations in Washington on March 7, 2021, in this photo provided by the foreign ministry. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
South Korea's Cabinet approved a recently concluded defense cost sharing deal with the United States on Tuesday, a foreign ministry official said, noting that the government will request parliamentary consent for it at an early date.

Last month, the two countries concluded the deal, under which Seoul is to pay 1.183 trillion won ($1.05 billion) this year, up from 1.038 trillion won in 2019, for the upkeep of the 28,500-strong U.S. Forces Korea (USFK).

The government is expected to request the National Assembly's consent for ratification of the deal, called the "Special Measures Agreement (SMA)," as early as this week.

"Our government hopes that the Assembly's consent will come as early as possible," the official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

The deal, which will last until 2025, was reached after 1 1/2 years of grueling negotiations that raised fears of a negative impact on the bilateral alliance in the face of lingering North Korean military threats.

Since 1991, Seoul has partially shouldered costs under the SMA for Korean USFK workers; the construction of military installations, such as barracks and training, educational, operational and communications facilities; and other logistical support. (Yonhap)

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