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Seoul Thinks U.S. Wants More Cash

Mar 29,2001

Seoul officials predicted Thursday that Washington would ask South Korea to cover more of the cost of maintaining the force of 37,000 U.S. troops stationed in the country.

The two countries began two-day talks Thursday to negotiate terms for a defense burden-sharing agreement for next year.

The United States agreed to reduce the payment in 1998 in the midst of the country's financial crisis, and Seoul officials believe Washington will want to catch up.South Korea paid $333 million in 1999, $390 million in 2000 and $444 million this year.

Leading the talks was Lt. General Kim Jong-hwan, a policy adviser at the South's Defense Ministry, and Marisa Lino, a negotiator from the U.S. State Department.

After these rounds of discussions are concluded, Seoul and Washington will hold further working-level and high-level talks on the final amount to be paid by Korea to offset some of the costs of keeping U.S. troops here. Those talks will be held during the annual Security Consultative Meeting in October or November in Washington.





by Kim Min-seok




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