00:02 GMT13 July 2020
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    TOKYO (Sputnik) - Locally-recruited staff of the US military bases in South Korea is set to return to work on Monday after 2.5 months of unpaid leave prompted by the two governments' stalled negotiations on cost-sharing terms for the maintenance of US troops, South Korean media reported.

    "All the employees will return to work today as planned. It is expected to bring many things back to normal", the Yonhap news agency quoted an unnamed USFK official as saying.

    According to the report, the US initially demanded that South Korea pay $1.3 billion per year — an increase of almost 50 percent from last year, while the best Seoul had to offer was a 13-percent increase — but eventually accepted the counterpart's offer.

    More than 4,000 South Korean employees of the United States Forces in South Korea were placed on unpaid leave on 1 April amid the coronavirus pandemic and the failure of Seoul and Washington to reach consensus on a long-standing disagreement over who should pay how much for the upkeep of the 28,500-strong US forces.

    The maintenance of the US troops in South Korea is regulated under the bilateral Special Measures Agreement, renewable every five years. The latest agreement expired last December without the two sides having agreed to mutually acceptable terms for it to renew on time.

    US troops, South Korea, United States
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