Go to contents

Korea, U.S. start SOFA revision talks

Posted October. 17, 2000 19:39,   


Korea and the United States resumed Tuesday negotiations on the proposed revision of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) in Washington and exchanged views on the guarantee of the rights of the accused U.S. servicemen and the stipulation of an environmental clause. The two governments will hold talks until Wednesday.

Earlier, on Aug. 2-3 in Seoul, the two sides agreed to allow Korea to take custody of U.S. military servicemen accused of crimes upon the indictment, while agreeing to protect the suspects' rights. But they failed to narrow differences in their mutual positions, since the Korean legal system for the protection of the accused is incompatible with that of the United States.

The related officials said that the two sides have considerably narrowed their positions through working-level contacts but that they have yet to reach an accord to a full extent. They pointed out that if the U.S. rights protection provisions are upheld, it is feared that Korean suspects will be discriminated against by the U.S.

As for the provision of a new environmental clause, the two sides had agreed during the Seoul talks. However, since the U.S. side maintains a position that the stipulation of a new environmental clause in SOFA could affect similar pacts with other nations, the two countries are at odds over the U.S. moves to minimize the levels and contents of the clause.

It has also been learned that the two sides concurred that the Korean investigation authorities refrain from indicting American Soldiers on traffic offenses, but that the U.S. side pay due compensation for it.

Boo Hyung-Kwon bookum90@donga.com