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Healthy discourse on SMA continues, says U.S. Assistant Secretary

Healthy discourse on SMA continues, says U.S. Assistant Secretary

Posted May. 11, 2020 07:29,   

Updated May. 11, 2020 07:29


“The communications have never stopped,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs R. Clarke Cooper on Friday regarding the Special Measures Agreement (SMA). “At the end of the day, nobody ― President Moon (Jae-in), President Trump ― nobody wants to see the alliance erode."

This is interpreted as a remark to tamp down concerns on the South Korea-U.S. alliance weakening as Washington demanded Seoul to share 1.3 billion dollars of defense cost, which is a 49 percent increase from last year.

“The lines of communication remain open and active,” Assistant Secretary Cooper said in a video press briefing after mentioning U.S. President Donald Trump, Korean President Moon Jae-in, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, Seoul's top negotiator Jeong Eun-bo and his U.S. counterpart, James DeHart. “I would say that the communication never stopped and there certainly is a healthy discourse that continues.”

“If one looks at from a foundational standpoint, the alliance is strong,” the assistant secretary added. “We are certainly looking for amenable space for Korea and for the United States to get to close on the Special Measures Agreement.”

“Korea is stellar and standing out if we look at the Indo-Pacific particularly,” he said on the response to COVID-19. “We have maintained a very nice, tight line with them on helping each other out, and we have been very welcoming of assistance from our Republic of Korea colleagues.”

Yong Park parky@donga.com