U.S. says to adjust S. Korean workers’ services if no defense cost deal

February 19, 2020

 The United States will adjust the services provided by South Korean workers on its military bases on the peninsula if the two countries fail to reach a cost-sharing deal in the coming weeks, the Pentagon said Wednesday.

Nearly 9,000 South Korean workers face a furlough in April if the allies fail to renew their agreement on sharing the cost for the stationing of 28,500 American troops on the peninsula.

“Nine thousand workers, that’s pretty significant,” Rear Adm. William Byrne Jr., vice director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during a press briefing at the Pentagon.

“We’re continuing negotiations, and there are options — big, medium, small, if you will — with respect to numbers and we’re hoping that the negotiations uncover a viable path so that those services continue,” he said. “If needed, we’re going to have to prioritize what services those workers provide. We’re going to have to prioritize life, health and safety.”