„In the absence of a signed ADM or a related bilateral agreement, the USFK can be … Korean national employees will not begin until April 1. Meanwhile, Seoul has reportedly offered to go up to 10 percent more, but it wants to maintain the framework of the agreement, which covers most of the wages of South Korean workers as well as other logistical and construction costs. Their statements have shattered hopes of reaching a last-minute agreement. South Korea`s chief negotiator said earlier this week that the two sides were close when he called on the military not to attack the unprecedented Furlough. The United States will host the Republic of Korea (ROK) from October 22-24 in Honolulu, Hawaii, for consultations on the Special Measures Agreement (ADM). The SMA, a kind of burden-sharing agreement, is the mechanism with which the Republic of Korea shares the costs of US forces for the defence of the Republic of Korea. The United States has had ADMs with the Republic of Korea since 1991 and this new agreement will replace the existing SMA, which expires at the end of 2019. The ROK`s position is well received by the local public, but almost a non-departure for „real” negotiations.
The confusing presentation of their position in the United States is equally problematic. In December 2019, in Seoul, the chief U.S. negotiator said publicly, „As parties to the agreement, we can amend the agreement if we agree to do it together. This is why the SMA agreement has been updated and modified over the years. This statement, as well as the United States` characterization of its position as an extension of the previous ADM, is misleading because „SMA” is not only an acronym for the „Special Measures Agreement” but for the agreement on specific measures regarding Article 5 of the facilities and territories and the status of U.S. forces in Korea (SOFA) agreement. Article 5 of SOFA deals only with „facilities and areas” for the USFK. The U.S. statement on its position ignores the fact that the United States must recognize that the current negotiations are inconsistent with the original spirit of the ADM in seeking costs beyond „facilities and areas” such as training, equipment and transportation.