Washington (CNN)The Pentagon announced Tuesday that the Department of Defense and South Korea reached a new cost-sharing agreement for the country to fund over 4,000 Korean nationals who work for US Forces Korea through the end of 2020.
The department said in a statement that the $200 million agreement “is a direct reflection of the United States’ commitment to readiness, to our Korean employees, and to the Alliance — ‘the linchpin of peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.’ “The Trump administration had originally sought last year to get Seoul to pay some $1.6 billion toward the cost of housing US troops, but agreed to the lower $1 billion figure with the understanding that they could negotiate a new arrangement for 2020. No agreement was reached earlier this year and the workers were furloughed without pay.”In regards to the lapsed (Special Measures Agreement), the Department of Defense believes that equitable burden-sharing between the governments of the United States and the Republic of Korea is in the best interest of all parties,” the statement read. The department said that absent an agreement, “critical defense infrastructure projects will remain suspended, all logistics support contracts for USFK will continue to be paid completely by the U.S., and burden sharing will remain out of balance for an Alliance that values and desires parity.” Read MoreSeveral senior US military and defense officials had worried earlier this year that the two allies could fail to reach agreement on the new cost-sharing formula, warning that as many as 9,000 Korean workers could be furloughed as a result, as was the case. The officials said the situation could undermine the US military mission amid tensions with North Korea.A senior State Department official told CNN in February that US officials had “adjusted our stance” during the course of six rounds of negotiations, and said they were not currently laser-focused on getting the South Koreans to increase the amount they pay by 400%.