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Progress made in SOFA revision talks

Posted October. 19, 2000 21:54,   


Korea and the United States wrapped up negotiations on a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) revision in Washington on Wednesday and made considerable progress in the talks, said a joint statement.

The joint statement said that the two sides narrowed differences in their positions considerably over the transfer of the custody of the U. S. servicemen accused of committing crimes and the protection of their rights.

As for environmental and quarantine issues, and the scope of civil suits for the Korean employees, they reached usual and practical accords. The two sides agreed to resume negotiations next month with a view to completing the revisions soon.

Chief Korean negotiator Song Min-Soon, director general of the Foreign Affairs-Trade Ministry's North American Affairs Bureau, disclosed that the two sides worked out a joint working-level document draft covering the accords as well as pending problems, saying that the negotiations had been proceeded smoothly.

The Korean and U.S. negotiators were learned to have concentrated their discussions on the kinds of crimes that should be handed over to the Korean judiciary and the protection of the accused American soldiers under the principle that the suspects should be regarded as innocent until their crimes are confirmed by the court verdict.

Han Ki-Heung eligius@donga.com