S. Korea names top negotiator for defense cost sharing deal for U.S. forces

Source: Xinhua| 2017-11-14 17:23:58|Editor: Mengjie
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SEOUL, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's foreign ministry said Tuesday that it has named a top negotiator to discuss the defense cost-sharing deal with the United States for U.S. forces stationed in the country.

Chang Won-sam, South Korean ambassador to Sri Lanka, was appointed to the post to negotiate with the U.S. side about how much South Korea would share to maintain about 28,500 U.S. troops stationed in the country.

Seoul's foreign ministry said Chang is a career diplomat having an ample experience in political affairs and trade.

Under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), South Korea provides land and facilities free of charge for U.S. Forces Korea (USFK), while the United States pay for costs to maintain U.S. troops stationed in South Korea.

From the 1990s, South Korea began to share the costs for U.S. troops here under the Special Measures Agreement (SMA).

The first round of SMA negotiations to discuss South Korea's defense cost-sharing was held in 1991. The negotiation has been held every five years. The current SMA accord is scheduled to terminate in December next year.

Under the current SMA accord, signed in early 2014, South Korea reportedly paid about 1 trillion won (900 million U.S. dollars) every year for defense costs for the U.S. troops here.