Ex-heads of S. Korea-U.S. defense cost sharing negotiations hold closed-door meeting in Seoul
한미방위비 협상대표 비공개 회동..."새 협상 사전협의"South Korea and the U.S. will soon start negotiating how to share the cost of stationing American troops here.President Trump wants Seoul to pay a lot more.Ahead of that, the two sides held a preliminary meeting yesterday.Kan Hyeong-woo has more.The heads of the previous round of South Korea-U.S. defense cost sharing negotiations, Chang Won-sam and Timothy Betts, held a closed-door meeting in Seoul on Tuesday.The sit-down was a pre-consultation ahead of the next round of talks for splitting the cost of keeping the roughly 28-thousand American troops stationed on the Korean Peninsula."We're aware that a pre-consultation took place between the chief negotiators on defense cost sharing. We'll let you know the specific result if there's something we need to tell you."Although not many details have been released about Tuesday's closed door meeting,... the focus is on how much more the U.S. is asking South Korea to stump up.Earlier this month,...President Trump said talks to increase South Korea's contribution had begun and Seoul had already agreed to pay the amount requested."South Korea and I have made a deal where they're paying a lot more money and they're going to pay a lot more money. The relationship is a very good one."But Seoul's foreign ministry swiftly responded, saying official negotiations for the 11th round of the Special Measures Agreement have not started yet.According to a ministry official,... both sides agree that negotiations need to begin as soon as possible with the current deal set to expire at the end of this year.In March, Seoul signed its 10th SMA with Washington.... agreeing to pay some 850-million U.S. dollars in 2019 for its share of stationing U.S. troops on the peninsula - a roughly eight percent increase from the previous year.Kan Hyeong-woo, Arirang News.