“The United States and the Republic of Korea have reached an agreement in principle on a new Special Measures Agreement,” the US State Department said in a Tuesday announcement. “Both sides are committed to working out remaining technical issues as quickly as possible.”
According to the previous deal, which expired at the end of 2018, Seoul paid 41 percent of the $2 billion bill for US Forces Korea, which amounted to an $848 million check, The Hill reported. The publication noted that 70 percent of those funds went toward paying the salaries of the nearly 9,000 South Korean employees who work with the US military.
The new deal isn’t only “significantly more” for South Korea, reportedly approaching $1 billion, according to Stars and Stripes, but has also been reduced from a five-year contract to merely annual, according to Yonhap News Agency.
However, Stars and Stripes noted that Seoul shouldered most of the $10.7 billion cost of upgrading Camp Humphreys, the massive army garrison between Seoul and the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that serves as the headquarters of US Forces Korea. The new HQ, adopted last summer, is twice as far from the DMZ, which serves as the border with North Korea, than its…