South Korea and the United States chief representatives will meet for the first time in Honolulu, US on Tuesday (22) to sign the 11th SMA Special Agreement, which will apply from next year.

South Korea's chief negotiator, Chung Eun-bo and Ambassador to the United States, James Dehart, a senior adviser to the US Department of State's Political and Military Affairs Department, will hold a second meeting for two days from the morning of the 23rd.

As both Korea and the United States have completed their negotiations, the two countries are expected to push and pull in earnest over the amount of defense contributions.

At the first meeting held in Seoul last month, South Korea exchanged basic positions between the US and South Korea on the sharing of defense expenses, with Ambassador Jang Won-sam and Dehart, who led the previous SMA negotiations.

The U.S. has been reported to have proposed the amount of contributions that Korea would like, largely insisting on Korea's defense contributions.

The exact figure is not known, but it may be close to the US's claim that the US military spends about $ 5 billion annually in direct and indirect operating costs.

The $ 5 billion, which includes both USFK labor costs and strategic asset deployment costs, points out that the ROK will need to revise the USFK status agreement to cover this money.

It is said that the ROK is fully contributing to the stable presence of US forces in Korea, and that the rational distribution of defense costs must be made at a reasonable level.

Ambassador Chung met with reporters before leaving the country the day before and said, "We will try to make the possible burden in the framework of the US-ROK alliance and economically rational."

The State Department announced the second meeting's schedule, saying that "continuing our international military presence costs is not only a burden for US taxpayers, but a responsibility for fair sharing between allies and partners who benefit from our presence."

Korea's contribution to defense expenses this year is KRW 1.38 trillion.

The 10th SMA Agreement is valid until this year. In principle, negotiations must be completed within the year before the 11th Agreement can be applied from next year.

(Photo = Yonhap News)