US, South Korea Meet Again for Talks on Sharing Defense Costs

(Photo credit: AP)South Korea’s chief negotiator Jeong Eun Bo answers a reporter’s question after a meeting with U.S. counterpart James DeHart at Foreign Ministry in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019.

(VOA News) The United States and South Korea are meeting for the fourth time to reach an agreement on sharing defense costs.

There are about 28,500 U.S. troops in South Korea. The country shares a heavily armed border with North Korea. The two sides remain technically at war because the Korean War ended in 1953 without a peace treaty.

The current discussions are to take place Tuesday and Wednesday in Washington.

Jeong Eun-bo is South Korea’s top negotiator. On his arrival near Washington, he expressed hope after the failure of talks earlier.

“I believe we will be able to produce a win-win result if we continue discussions with patience,” Jeong said on December second.

The current cost-sharing agreement will end on December 31. Since 1991, the agreements have been updated every five years, but the current deal covers only one year.

The two sides last reached an agreement in February. South Korea increased its share of defense costs by 8.2 percent to more than $800 million. That amount has been described as about half of the total cost.

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