Seoul and Washington have struck a deal Sunday (local time) on their defense cost-sharing agreement, which has been bogged down for a long time. The agreement came 46 days after U.S. President Joe Biden was sworn in office, declaring to restore relations with allies.
“The representatives from South Korea and the United States have reached an agreement in principle after working towards closing the Special Measures Agreement (SMA) negotiations,” said the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday. “We are pleased to announce that the U.S. and Republic of Korea negotiators have reached consensus on a proposed text of a Special Measures Agreement that will strengthen our Alliance and our shared defense,” said the spokesperson of the U.S. Department of State in a statement. The details of the final deal such as the agreed amount of cost-sharing or timeline were not revealed. But it will likely hover around the initial “13 percent increase” offer, which was agreed to by both parties in April last year.
The two sides reportedly reached an understanding last year that Seoul should offer a 13-percent increase in the first year and up the ante each year before reaching the 1.3 billion dollar mark in the fifth year as demanded from Washington. Quoting a diplomat, the Wall Street Journal said the new accord will last through 2025, meaning it will be a five-year agreement. Considering that the negotiation had been stalled last year, however, the new agreement is in effect a six-year deal.