Jan. 22 (UPI) -- The United States made its "final offer" to renegotiate a military cost-sharing agreement with South Korea, but the terms may not be acceptable in Seoul, according to multiple reports.
The offer may have been made initially on Dec. 28, when U.S. Ambassador to Seoul Harry B. Harris visited the presidential Blue House, local television network SBS reported Tuesday.
During a meeting with President Moon Jae-in's national security adviser Chung Eui-yong, Harris called for a settlement of differences over cost sharing, as the U.S.-Korea Special Measures Agreement expired in 2018.
Harris reportedly asked the South to pay $1 billion annually, and that the agreement be renegotiated a year later.
The South Koreans have said the terms of offer are to be reviewed, but the U.S. proposal means Seoul must bear a 16.1 percent cost increase from the prior year for maintaining troops.
After 10 rounds of talks between the two sides since March, the United States initially asked the South to pay $1.6 billion, which Seoul rejected.
South Korea has steadily borne the cost of U.S. troops on the peninsula, which stood at about $500 million as recently as 2005. The cost increase has averaged 16 to 18 percent, annually, since that time, according to television network JTBC.
On Tuesday, South Korea's foreign ministry said any cost-sharing negotiations are to be discussed separately from North Korea, Yonhap reported Tuesday.
Critics have said Seoul and Washington have been divided over North Korea policy, and the deadlock over cost sharing is weighing heavily on the alliance.
Concern is also rising in the South that Korean employees on U.S. military bases could be furloughed if negotiations do not reach a settlement.
A foreign ministry official said the U.S. side has informed Seoul Korean employees will have to take a leave of absence starting mid-April, if an agreement is not reached, according to Yonhap.