South Korea's Defense Ambassador for Korea-North Korea's Defense Expenses Sharing Agreement today (21st) said, "From April 1st, there may be unpaid leave for Korean workers in the USFK."

Ambassador Chung met with reporters after returning to Incheon Airport early this morning after a defense-sharing meeting with the United States and said, "We negotiated on the principle that unpaid leave must be prevented, but it was not agreed."

"We even offered a memorandum of understanding for first-time workers to pay salaries (labor costs), but strongly demanded a settlement, but the US officially objected to the delay," he said.

"In any case, we will do our best to secure stable working conditions for these Korean workers whenever possible," he added.

Hanmi held a seventh meeting in Los Angeles, USA on the 17th and 19th to sign the 11th Special Defense Cost Sharing Agreement (SMA), but failed to reach an agreement.

As a result, the possibility that unpaid leave for Korean workers scheduled to start on April 1st in the United States will become a reality.

Regarding the disagreement between Korea and the United States over the total amount of contributions, Ambassador Chung said, "We are continuing to discuss things related to the total amount and reduce the scope of disagreement." "It indicates that progress has been made in the negotiations."

When the US State Department said that "Korea should be more flexible," it said, "We are discussing with meaningful numbers."

He said, "In any case, we will endeavor in the light of the fair and reasonable level of agreement between Korea and the United States, and through this, we will strive to contribute to strengthening our defense posture with the 70-year-old Alliance."

(Photo = Yonhap News)