|U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province. Yonhap|
The U.S. defense department said Tuesday it has accepted South Korea's proposal to fund the labor costs for all Koreans working for the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) amid their stalled defense cost-sharing talks.
Around 4,000 employees were placed on unpaid leave starting April 1 amid the protracted stalemate in negotiations to work out a new Special Measures Agreement (SMA) that stipulates how much Seoul would pay for the upkeep of the 28,500-strong USFK.
"The Department of Defense has accepted the Republic of Korea's (ROK) proposal to fund the labor costs for all U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) Korean National (KN) employees through the end of 2020," the U.S. Department of Defense said in a release.
"USFK expects all KN employees to return to work no later than mid-June," it added.
The defense cost-sharing negotiations have been deadlocked after U.S. President Donald Trump rejected Seoul's offer as insufficient. Officials said Washington has asked Seoul to pay $1.3 billion per year, a nearly 50 percent increase from last year, while Seoul says its best offer stands at a 13 percent increase. (Yonhap)