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US, South Korea cut short meeting over sharing defense costs

U.S. and South Korean officials have publicly acknowledged the allies remain far apart in negotiations for increasing South Korea’s contributions to the costs for maintaining the American military presence on its soil.

U.S. negotiator James DeHart said the U.S. side decided to cut short a meeting that lasted less than two hours Tuesday, because Seoul’s proposals “were not responsive to our request for fair and equitable burden sharing.”

Seoul’s Foreign Ministry says Washington is calling for a “drastic increase” in South Korea’s contributions which the country finds unacceptable.

James DeHart, U.S. Department of State's a senior advisor for security negotiations and agreements bureau of political-military affairs, speaks after a meeting with South Korean counterpart on the Special Measures Agreement (SMA) at the public affairs section of the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019. (AP PhotoLee Jin-man, Pool)

The turbulent negotiations come at a delicate time for the allies, which are also squabbling over Seoul’s declaration to terminate a 2016 military intelligence-sharing pact with Japan amid a bilateral row.