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Defense ministers of S. Korea, U.S. to meet next week in Washington Updated: 2020-02-19 06:59:57 KST


Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo will be paying an official visit to the U.S. next week for a bilateral meeting with his U.S. counterpart, Mark Esper.
It'll be Jeong's first visit to the U.S. since Esper was appointed last July.
On the agenda will be the previous defense cost-sharing negotiations, South Korea-U.S. combined military exercises, as well as the transfer of wartime operational control from Washington to Seoul.
During his six-day visit, Jeong will also attend events commemorating Korean War veterans in the lead up to its 70th anniversary.
The two countries have previously failed to reach a compromise on defense cost-sharing issues despite six rounds of talks that took place since last September.. as the U.S is believed to have asked Seoul for a significant increase from last year's 870-million U.S. dollars.
On whether the two sides can come to a deal during the next round of talks on the Special Measures Agreement, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, in a meeting held at the National Assembly, said it's too early to say whether the negotiations are in their final stages.
She also said it will become clearer whether a settlement can be achieved depending on the outcome of the upcoming talks taking a more cautious approach from the previous stance of needing to come to an agreement by this month.
On Kang's meeting in Munich last Saturday with Mike Pompeo, her U.S. counterpart she said they shared an understanding of the need for the two countries' delegations to meet again in order to reach a deal.
The U.S. is believed to have asked for Seoul's contribution in covering costs for troops assigned to U.S. Forces Korea on a rotational basis of nine months as well as offshore costs for the training of U.S. troops not limited to those on the Korean peninsula which were not included in last year's SMA settlement.
Kim Ji-yeon, Arirang News.
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