US, Korea seek last-minute deal as thousands of civilian workers face April 1 furlough

02-Apr-2020 Intellasia | NBCNews | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo headed to the White House on Tuesday morning in an effort to keep thousands of South Korean civilians who work for the US military in South Korea from being furloughed on Wednesday, April 1, according to two US defense officials.

The US and South Korean government have been in a stand-off for months over this year’s Special Measures Agreement (SMA), under which the US military is deployed to the Korean Peninsula and often referred to as the burden-sharing agreement because it dictates how much money the South Korean government will contribute to the US military deployment.

U.S. and South Korean soldiers watch a drill at the Seungjin Fire Training Field near Seoul in 2017.(Getty Images)

U.S. and South Korean soldiers watch a drill at the Seungjin Fire Training Field near Seoul in 2017.(Getty Images)

President Donald Trump wants President Moon Jae-in’s government to pay $5 billion for 2020, five times more than the South Koreans paid in 2019, according to US defense officials familiar with the discussions. The South Koreans have refused.

Without an agreement, the US military announced it would have to furlough about 9,000 South Korean civilian employees on April 1. The current funding agreement between the two countries expired at the end of 2019, but the US has been using reserve funds to pay the employees since.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/national-security/u-s-south-korea-seek-last-minute-deal-thousands-civilian-n1173096

 


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