Nearly half of S.Korean workers on bases to be furloughed: US. Image Source: IANS News

Seoul, March 3 : Negotiators from South Korea and the US will hold talks in Washington this week to discuss how to share the upkeep cost for the US Forces Korea (USFK), Seoul's Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

The ninth round of negotiations for the 11th Special Measures Agreement (SMA), a South Korea-US deal to share the defence cost for about 28,500 American troops stationed here, will be held in the US capital on Friday, reports Xinhua news agency.

The latest negotiation was virtually held on February 5 amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The South Korean Foreign Ministry said it is anticipating that discussions would be made to reach a mutually acceptable agreement as rapidly as possible, based on talks the two sides have had so far.

The 10th SMA, which was reached in March 2019, expired at the end of the year.

Under the 10th SMA, South Korea paid 1.04 trillion won ($930 million) in 2019 for the stationing of US soldiers, up 8.2 per cent from the previous year.

Since 1991, Seoul has shared the upkeep for the US forces, including costs for South Korean civilians hired by the USFK, construction of military installations and logistics support.

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