Chang Won-sam, the country's ambassador to Sri Lanka, was chosen as the top negotiator for talks aimed at renewing the current cost sharing deal for about 30,000 US troops stationed in South Korea. He is known for his deep understanding of trade issues, the ministry said.
The Status of Forces Agreement states that South Korea provides facilities and land necessary for the troops for free, while the US has to pick up the cost of Korean workers, construction at installations and so on.
South Korea is currently paying a part of the cost that the US should shoulder by renewing the bilateral Special Measure Agreement every five years.
Under the latest SMA, signed in early 2014, South Korea is contributing nearly 1 trillion won ($893 million) every year. The allies are expected to initiate their negotiations to renew the agreement, which will expire at the end of 2018, late this year or early next year. (Yonhap)