According to Korean media reports, next week, South Korea and the United States will hold the 5th meeting of the 11th Special Defense Cost Sharing Agreement (SMA) in Seoul. It is predicted that this will be the last Korean-US consultation meeting on defense costs in 2019.
According to reports, this will be December 3 to 4, two weeks after the fourth meeting in Washington, the United States, the two sides met again. This is expected to be the last meeting of the year. The 10th SMA agreement between South Korea and the United States will expire on the 31st, with the goal of ending negotiations within the year. However, due to the wide gap between the positions of the two sides, it is more likely that consultations will continue next year.
The report said that the reason for the deadlock in the negotiations between the two sides was the unreasonable demands of the United States. At the previous meeting, the United States demanded that the South Korean side pay a share of nearly $ 5 billion, which is equivalent to five to six times the share in 2019.
A South Korean government official said the United States has not adjusted the amount requested.
In this regard, the South Korean side has always emphasized that the defense fee sharing fund should be negotiated within the framework of the special agreement on defense fee sharing and advocates a slight increase.
It is reported that at this meeting, South Korea planned to emphasize on the recently decided issues such as “returning the cost of pollution decontamination to US military bases in South Korea” and the joint defense contribution of the Strait of Hormuz and the purchase of US-made weapons. This is to emphasize that in addition to the defense cost sharing, South Korea still has a lot of financial burdens for the development of the Korea-US alliance, so that it can take the lead in the negotiation.
South Korea and the United States have signed a total of 10 agreements since the first defense cost sharing agreement was signed in 1991. According to the 10th agreement signed in March 2019, the defense cost borne by the Korean side is 1.0389 trillion won (about 870 million US dollars), an increase of 8.2% over 2018. The agreement is valid as of December 31, 2019.