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S. Korea, U.S. vow to cut off illegal funding in N. Korea

S. Korea, U.S. vow to cut off illegal funding in N. Korea

Posted March. 01, 2024 07:25,   

Updated March. 01, 2024 07:25


South Korean and U.S. diplomatic authorities are reportedly set to commence negotiations on the burden-sharing of defense costs for U.S. troops stationed in South Korea soon. The move is aimed at swiftly embarking on the negotiation on the defense cost-sharing for 2026 and onwards before the upcoming U.S. presidential election in November.

"The current defense cost-sharing agreement is set to expire at the end of next year. Since negotiations usually take more than a year, it is natural to expect some movement this year," a South Korean senior government official said on Wednesday (local time). "It seems that such discussions will take place between South Korea and the United States in the near future."

The 11th Special Measures Agreement (SMA) on defense cost-sharing, signed by South Korea and the U.S. in 2021, will be in effect until the end of 2025. The agreement was barely reached following the change in administration from the Trump to the Biden administration after repeated clashes following former U.S. President Donald Trump’s demand for a fivefold increase in burden-sharing during his term. With about two years remaining until the current agreement expires, there is speculation that negotiations are starting early, possibly considering the potential for Trump’s return to power in the White House.

"We have conveyed to Japan that all contacts with North Korea should be accompanied by close pre-information sharing and should contribute to peace and security on the Korean Peninsula,” the official explained regarding the ongoing summit between North Korea and Japan. “The United States and Japan also share this sentiment."

South Korean Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yeol, currently visiting the U.S., held his first diplomatic meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken on the same day. "In a situation where the threat of North Korea's nuclear weapons and missiles is escalating, both countries have agreed to firmly respond to North Korea's provocations and continue efforts to block illegal funding," Minister Cho stated.

워싱턴=문병기 기자 weappon@donga.com