Fri, 23 Apr 2021

SEOUL, March 3 (Xinhua) -- Negotiators from South Korea and the United States will hold talks in Washington later this week to discuss how to share the upkeep cost for the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK), Seoul's foreign ministry said Wednesday.

The ninth round of negotiations for the 11th Special Measures Agreement (SMA), a South Korea-U.S. deal to share the defense cost for about 28,500 U.S. troops stationed here, will be held in the U.S. capital on Friday.

The latest negotiation was virtually held on Feb. 5 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The South Korean foreign ministry said it is anticipating that discussions would be made to reach a mutually acceptable agreement as rapidly as possible, based on talks the two sides have had so far.

The 10th SMA, which was reached in March 2019, expired at the end of the year.

Under the 10th SMA, South Korea paid 1.04 trillion won (930 million U.S. dollars) in 2019 for the stationing of U.S. soldiers, up 8.2 percent from the previous year.

Since 1991, South Korea has shared the upkeep for the U.S. forces here, including costs for South Korean civilians hired by the USFK, construction of military installations and logistics support.

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