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S. Korea, U.S. agree "in principle" on defense cost-sharing deal under Biden administration Updated: 2021-03-08 15:23:54 KST


Less than two months since U.S. President Biden took office, Seoul and Washington have agreed "in principle" on a defense cost-sharing agreement that had been stalled for about a year.
Seoul's foreign affairs ministry said on Monday that the two sides plan to officially sign the Special Measures Agreement after concluding internal procedures.
The Wall Street Journal and Reuters reported that the U.S. State Department was pleased to have "reached consensus on a proposed text", adding there has been a "meaningful increase" in South Korea's contribution.

The agreement was reached on Sunday after three days of negotiations in Washington D.C. led by Seoul's chief negotiator Jeong Eun-bo and his American counterpart Donna Welton.
Their first face-to-face meeting since Biden's inauguration took an extra day, as the two sides seemed to have been discussing "remaining issues" until the last minute.
It's likely the official agreement will be unveiled when U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin travel to Seoul in the coming days.
They are reportedly planning visits to South Korea and Japan later this month.

The specifics of the deal, including exactly how much the deal will amount to, have not yet been disclosed.
Seoul had been suggesting an increase of about 13 percent from its last payment.
The deal might also be a multi-year one that could span at least five years.
Talks on a deal have been stalled for over a year after the Trump administration demanded a sharp increase.
But the agreement was reached faster under the new administration, as President Biden declared his will to restore U.S. alliances, including striking a deal with Seoul as soon as possible.
Yoon Jung-min, Arirang News.
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