Top U.S. negotiator in defense cost-sharing talks with S. Korea in Seoul for 4-day stay
Updated: 2019-11-06 10:09:32 KST
James DeHart, the Senior Advisor for Security Negotiations and Agreements Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, and the top U.S. negotiator in defense cost-sharing talks with South Korea arrived in Seoul on Tuesday.
"Very good to be here this week. Thank you."
Watchers say his stay through Friday may be aimed at gauging public sentiment over the two countries' cost-sharing negotiations.
DeHart is expected to have an unofficial dinner meeting with representatives from Seoul's foreign ministry, including his counterpart Jeong Eun-bo, and meet South Korean lawmakers as well as journalists.
The visit comes as DeHart and Jeong failed to narrow the gap in their defense cost-sharing talks in Hawaii last month.
Under the 10th Special Measures Agreement struck in February,.. Seoul agreed to pay 870-million dollars this year, but reports say the Trump administration wants five billion dollars for 2020, a figure that's considered far too high by South Korea.
"It's true that the U.S. side is asking for much more than they did in the past."
While South Korea and the U.S. will meet in Seoul later this month for further negotiations, observers say it's unlikely DeHart will engage in any form of negotiations during this particular trip.
Lee Seung-jae, Arirang News.