Members of the South Korean employees' union protest the U.S. Forces Korea furlough outside the main gate at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, Wednesday, April 1, 2020. KIM GAMEL/STARS AND STRIPES
Members of the South Korean employees' union protest the U.S. Forces Korea furlough outside the main gate at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, Wednesday, April 1, 2020. KIM GAMEL/STARS AND STRIPES

‘We consider them family’: US military furloughs thousands of South Korean employees in blow to alliance

by Kim Game and Yoo Kyong Chang
Stars and Stripes

CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea — Following months of warnings, the U.S. military put 4,500 South Korean base employees — about half its local workforce — on unpaid leave indefinitely Wednesday after the allies failed to agree on a new defense cost-sharing deal.

The furlough — the first of its kind — was a blow to the alliance and joint military readiness to fight on the divided peninsula, which commanders say already has been jeopardized by restrictions on movement aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

Negotiators have been deadlocked over the United States’ demand that South Korea sharply increase its contribution to offset the costs of stationing some 28,500 service members on the divided peninsula as defense against the nuclear-armed North.

U.S. Forces Korea commander Gen. Robert Abrams expressed regret and promised to continue to press both governments to reach a new Special Measures Agreement as soon as possible since the previous deal expired at the end of the year.

Read more at: https://www.stripes.com/1.624427

 

 

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