US Notifies Seoul of Chief SOFA Negotiator
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Affairs Frederick Smith will lead the U.S. delegation for bilateral negotiations to revise the controversial Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), set for Aug. 2-3 in Seoul, a Foreign Affairs-Trade Ministry official said yesterday.
It would mark the first meeting since September 1996 after which the two countries suspended negotiations despite seven rounds of talks because of a wide range of differences on key issues of the agreement governing administrative affairs of 37,000 U.S. troops stationed here.
His Korean counterpart is Song Min-soon, director general of the ministry's North American Affairs Bureau, he said.
``Any progress in SOFA negotiations will depend on what postures the United States might adopt, on such key issues as the custody of U.S. suspects and environment,'' the official said.
In the past, the United States showed willingness to introduce a ``symbolic'' reference to environmental protection by U.S. military bases here in the ROK-U. …