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SOFA revision negotiations to resume Nov. 28

Posted November. 21, 2000 20:26,   


Korea and the United States will resume negotiations on the revision of the U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) in Seoul from Nov. 29 to Dec. 7.

Sources at the Foreign Affairs-Trade Ministry disclosed Tuesday that the two sides are scheduled to hold sectional experts` talks on Nov. 29-30 in Seoul, to be followed by a one-week plenary session from Dec. 1 in which they will discuss questions of criminal jurisdiction, environment, labor and quarantine.

Korea and the U.S. are known to be putting the fishing touches on the draft articles governing legal jurisdiction over U.S. servicemen accused of committing crimes as well as guaranteeing the rights of the soldiers. With regard to the environmental, labor and quarantine problems, the two sides have exchanged the draft revisions. The two sides are expected to hotly debate environmental issues in particular, especially the question of whether to incorporate environmental articles in the main SOFA or in the appendix of the pact. Also to be disputed will be detailed stipulations regarding who should bear the expenses for environmental contamination.

Meanwhile, the foreign ministry decided earlier to hold the SOFA talks at Mt. Sokri National Park in order to intensify them but later changed the venue to the Central Government Complex and the Korea Association for Foreign Affairs and Diplomacy in view of the sites¡¯ superior communication facilities.

Boo Hyung-Kwon bookum90@donga.com