U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) began notifying 5,000 South Korean employees today that they would be furloughed (temporarily laid off) starting April 1, as defense cost-sharing talks between the two countries remain stalled.
The two sides have been negotiating a new Special Measures Agreement (SMA) that stipulates how much Seoul should pay to maintain the 28,500-strong USFK. Salaries of about 9,000 South Korean employees are also funded under the agreement, Yonhap News reported.
The latest round of negotiations which took place last week in Los Angeles failed to arrive at a settlement. While the United States stuck to its demand for US$4 billion, Seoul's offered to pay less than a quarter of that, diplomatic sources told South Korean media.
USFK began sending out furlough notices to about 4,500-5,000 workers ahead of the April 1 temporary layoffs, an official said. In the notice, the U.S. Department of the Army said that "the reasons for the furlough remain valid," as there were "no remaining funded positions in your competitive area to which you have a placement right."
During the furlough period, the employees "will not be permitted to serve as an unpaid volunteer, must remain away from their workplace, and are prohibited from performing any work-related duties," the letter read.
South Korea has proposed a separate agreement to first address the wage issue, but the U.S. rejected the move stressing on a comprehensive deal, according to Seoul's top negotiator Jeong Eun-bo.
In protest of the move, the labor union of the Korean employees called for the revision of rules on the defense cost-sharing deal and a broader related system so as to better guarantee their labor rights.
Some 9000 South Korean employees at US bases in the country may be forced to go on unpaid leave if no cost-sharing deal is reached between Washington and Seoul. On Monday, the US Defense Secretary Mark Esper will meet South Korean minister of defense Jeong Kyeong-doo to discuss a range of bilateral issues including the regional security environment, policy toward North Korea, the planned transition of wartime operational control (OPCON), and the Special Measures Agreement (SMA) cost-sharing deal
South Korea has selected Thales' sonar system to be fitted on its naval rescue ship, six years after the old one was found to be of substandard quality. "The Defense Acquisition Program Administration is now putting a sonar system made by Thales Group in the Tongyeong, which is to be completed this week," a Navy officer was quoted as saying by Yonhap on Thursday
South Korean Air Force's Black Eagles aerobatics team pulled out of participators list in the upcoming Singapore Airshow 2020 (February 11-16) as part of precautions against the novel Coronavirus. The Black Eagles have notified Singapore of the decision, which was taken on Monday
The South Korean Air Force has set up a reconnaissance squadron charged with operating the high altitude-long range surveillance drone, Global Hawk. The new military unit was established in December as South Korea brought in its first RQ-4 Block 30 Global Hawk Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) that month, the defence ministry announced
The United States has given the go-ahead to upgrade South Korean F-16 fighter jets with Mode 5 Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) and Link 16 Tactical Datalink (TDL) and related equipment for $194 million. "The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Republic of Korea to upgrade its F-16 Block 32 aircraft with Mode 5 Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) and Link 16 Tactical Datalink (TDL) and related equipment for an estimated cost of $194 million," Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in a statement Monday
Estonia Receives 128 Raytheon Javelin Anti-tank Missiles
Saab to Supply Water-bombing Aircraft to Sweden
Boeing Preparing KC-46 Aerial Tanker for Autonomous Refueling
US Navy Orders 3 More Boeing MQ-25 Stingray Aerial Refueling Drones
Chinese Military Docs Develop Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccine
Russia’s Buk-M3 Air Defense System to Debut at Victory Day Parade
China Replaces Russian Engine in J-10C Jet With Locally-made WS-10 Taihang
Venezuelan Maritime Patrol Boat Sinks After Collision With Portuguese Cruise Ship
After laying to rest its pacifist post-World War II posture since the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe came to...
China is pulling off the impossible- selling arms to nations it is in conflict with over its claim in the...
Several joint production and direct procurement programs could be halted if the US and Europe carry through with their threat...
Sanctions-hit Iran has found ingenious ways to develop military hardware
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly permeating the defence industry to aid and improve human decision-making
Upgrade of Russias Sukhoi Su-30SM fighters to equip them with armaments, radar, sensors and engines from the more powerful Su-35...