S Korean, US defence officials to meet in Seoul on Aug 9

Seoul [South Korea]: The South Korean Defence Ministry on Wednesday said that its Defence Minister, Jeong Kyeong-doo, is slated to hold a meeting with the new US Defense Secretary, Mark Esper, on August 9.

According to the ministry, the officials will exchange their opinions regarding security, discuss cooperation in the process of demilitarisation and peacemaking on the Korean Peninsula along with other pressing issues.

Early on Wednesday, North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles that flew 250 kilometers (155 miles) toward the Sea of Japan. The South Korean National Security Council convened an emergency meeting to discuss the tests and express their concerns.

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The two defence officials are also expected to discuss their countries’ cost-sharing deal, officially referred to as the Special Measures Agreement (SMA), before the current one-year accord expires at the end of 2019.

Seoul has been sharing the cost for hosting some 28,500 US troops as part of the SMA since 1991.

Esper, an army veteran, was sworn in as the Pentagon chief on July 23.

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