“We are explaining South Korea’s contribution to the alliance and asking for a fair and objective assessment,” said Jeong Eun-bo, South Korea's chief negotiator for the Special Measures Agreement (SMA) on the sharing of military spending between South Korea and the U.S., indicating a “two-track” approach employed by South Korea at a press conference on Thursday. His comment is interpreted as maintaining the existing structure of the SMA while responding to the U.S.’ pressure to increase defense costs with separate measures, such as buying U.S.-made weapons.
“The sharing of expenses for the U.S. troops deployed overseas regarding “readiness,” (which is demanded by the U.S.,) cannot be accepted,” said Jeong. “We are strictly adhering to the stance that the existing structure of the 28-year-old SMA should be maintained in principle.” This is a response to the “readiness” item, which is absent from the current SMA, added by James DeHart, the chief U.S. negotiator and a senior aide of the State Department, at a press conference on Wednesday and the U.S.’ demand for South Korea to cover the overall costs related to the defense of the country, such as the rotation of the United State Forces Korea (USFK) and strategic assets.
The South Korean chief negotiator said Thursday, “We cannot reveal details about monetary amount,” regarding DeHart’s comment on the previous day that five billion dollars, which has been known as the total amount demanded by the U.S., are not the number the U.S. side is focusing on.
Gi-Jae Han firstname.lastname@example.org