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South Korea, US strike defence cost sharing deal

Seoul, Jan 12 - South Korea and the US reached an agreement Sunday to share annual defence costs for the 28,500 US troops stationed here, according to sources with South Korean foreign ministry.

Delegations from both sides held the ninth round of negotiations for the five-year Special Measures Agreement in Seoul, and finally succeeded in narrowing differences Saturday, Xinhua reported.

It was decided that how much South Korea would pay for the presence of the US Forces Korea (USFK), the ministry said in a press release Sunday.

South Korea agreed to pay 920 billion won ($870 million) in 2014 for the USFK presence costs, up 5.8 percent from last year's 869.5 billion won.

The agreement will be effective over the next five years through 2018.

The US faced growing financial burden to station its 28,500-strong forces in South Korea as Washington was hit hard by the partial government shutdown amid lackluster economic growth.(IANS)