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Progress in SOFA talks faces obstacles

Posted December. 06, 2000 20:33,   


Korea and the United States conducted their sixth day of negotiations on revising the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) Wednesday at the Central Government Complex in downtown Seoul but failed to narrow differences on some outstanding matters. The two sides are scheduled to resume their talks Thursday but chances are slim that they will reach a final conclusion.

Related government officials said that, since the two sides failed to address some knotty issues, it is difficult to forecast the future of the negotiations. As well as disagreements in the areas of labor and facilities, they two sides also remain at loggerheads over criminal jurisdiction, the environment, quarantine and non-appropriated fund facilities.

The officials added that the two sides exchanged draft proposals outlining their respective positions but that they were unable to bridge the gap.

Korea and the U. S. said they will make their utmost effort to strike a deal, but prospects are that the two sides will have to adjust their positions before agreeing to hold another round of the talks.

Boo Hyung-Kwon bookum90@donga.com