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U.S., South Korea scramble to seal defence cost-sharing deal as thousands put on unpaid leave

Added 04-01-20 02:10:03am EST - “The commander of U.S. troops in South Korea on Wednesday called for negotiators to quickly resolve a cost-sharing dispute that has put more than 4,000 local workers on unpaid leave, with South Korean officials suggesting an agreement…” - Reuters.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Reuters.com: “U.S., South Korea scramble to seal defence cost-sharing deal as thousands put on unpaid leave”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

SEOUL (Reuters) - The commander of U.S. troops in South Korea on Wednesday called for negotiators to quickly resolve a cost-sharing dispute that has put more than 4,000 local workers on unpaid leave, with South Korean officials suggesting an agreement could come soon.

About half of the nearly 9,000 South Koreans employed by the U.S. military command were placed on unpaid leave starting on Wednesday, after the two countries failed to agree on a new pact months after the last agreement expired at the end of 2019.

The dispute follows a U.S. demand for Seoul to pay up to $5 billion a year to support the troop presence, up from $870 million under last year’s agreement.

“This is an unfortunate day for us, it’s unthinkable, it’s heartbreaking,” General Robert Abrams, commander of United States Forces Korea (USFK), said in a video statement.

“The partial furlough of (Korean national) employees is not what we envisioned or hoped would happen.”

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