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  • USFK Notifies Korean Employees Of Another Possible Furlough

Photo: Yonhap News
Photo: Yonhap News
U.S. Forces Korea has informed its South Korean employees of another potential furlough as little progress has been made in defense-cost sharing negotiations between Seoul and Washington.

USFK said on Friday that a notice was sent on October 5 to its Korean Employees Union and the labor ministry about a furlough that could occur next April, in case the two allies fail to reach a deal on how to share the burden for the upkeep of American troops stationed here.

The notice came less than four months after thousands of South Koreans employed by USFK returned to work following months of unpaid leave as the two countries had yet to reach a new Special Measures Agreement.

More than 4,000 Korean workers were furloughed this year from April to June until the U.S. accepted South Korea's proposal to fund their labor costs through the end 2020.

The USFK said they "remain hopeful for a swift conclusion to mitigate a labor funding deficit for the nearly 9,000 members of the USFK Korean National workforce."

During a recent meeting in Washington, South Korean Defense Minister Suh Wook and U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper agreed on the need to quickly conclude their stalled negotiations.

However, their joint statement issued afterwards lacked the usual U.S. vow to "maintain the current force level of USFK in order to defend" South Korea.


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