Senior US diplomat meets ROK top legislator on alliance, denuclearization

Xinhua
Sullivan and Moon reaffirmed the alliance between the two countries and pledged to maintain close coordination on denuclearization, the State Department said.
Xinhua
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Honor Guards of the United Nations Command, the Combined Forces Command and the United States Forces Korea participate in a change-of-command ceremony at Barker Field on Camp Humphreys in Pyongtaek, South Korea, on November 8, 2018. 

The US State Department said Monday that Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan held talks with visiting Republic of Korea National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang on issues of the alliance and the denuclearization of the Korea Peninsula.

Sullivan and Moon reaffirmed the alliance between the two countries and pledged to maintain close coordination on denuclearization, the State Department said.

The United States and the ROK signed a one-year deal on February 10 to share defense costs for US forces stationed in the ROK.

Under the revised Special Measures Agreement that stipulates a cost-sharing between Seoul and Washington for the US Forces Korea, the ROK will pay 1.04 trillion won (US$925 million) this year.

It was an 8.2 percent increase from the previous year. The ROK paid 960 billion won in 2018 for the USFK stationing.

The two parties are expected to go back to negotiations for a new SMA in the second half of this year.

The deal is subject to the approval of the ROK's National Assembly, and some lawmakers reportedly warned that the short-term nature of the deal could cause friction.

About 28,500 US troops are stationed in the ROK as a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War that ended with an armistice.

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