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S. Korea to up its financial burden for U.S. troops by 8.2 pct

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (2nd from R) talks with Timothy Betts, the top U.S. negotiator in defense-cost talks between the allies, in Seoul on Feb. 10, 2019. (Yonhap)

Pan Pacific Agency | COMMUICATION AGENCY FOR PACIFICA REGIONS

SEOUL, Feb 10, 2019, Yonhap. South Korea signed a deal with the United States on Sunday to raise its contribution to the upkeep of American troops here by 8.2 percent this year, reported the Yonhap.

Top negotiators of the two sides inked the contract in Seoul, under which South Korea will pay 1.03 trillion won (US$890 million) for the operation of the 28,500-strong U.S. Forces Korea (USFK), up from 960 billion won in 2018.

It was formally called a “preliminary signing,” as domestic procedures, including parliamentary ratification in South Korea, are required. The U.S. government does not need congressional approval for the accord.

South Korea’s defense budgets this year have hiked 8.2 percent from 2018, but inflation has remained at 1.5 percent.

The deal put an end to monthslong disputes on money between the allies and cleared a hurdle for coordination ahead of a second summit between Pyongyang and Washington to be held in Hanoi on Feb. 27-28.

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