SEOUL - Negotiators from South Korea and the United States held talks to share the upkeep cost for the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK), South Korean Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.

The first round of negotiations for the 11th Special Measures Agreement (SMA), a South Korea-U.S. accord to share defense cost for about 28,500 U.S. troops stationed here, was held in Seoul from Tuesday to Wednesday.

The two sides shared a view that the South Korea-U.S. alliance was stronger than ever, agreeing to keep negotiations for the reasonable and fair sharing of cost, based on mutual respect and trust as an alliance, under the new, dynamic environment of negotiations.

During the two-day negotiations, Seoul and Washington exchanged each other's positions on the sharing of defense cost and made detailed discussions.

They agreed to hold the second round of negotiations in the United States next month given that the 10th SMA, which was reached in March, is set to expire by the end of this year. Under the 10th SMA, South Korea agreed to pay 1.04 trillion won (about 870 million U.S. dollars) this year for the stationing of U.S. soldiers. It was an 8.2-percent increase from the previous year.

Since 1991, South Korea has shared the upkeep cost for the USFK, including costs for South Korean civilians hired by the USFK, for the construction of military facilities and for the logistics support.(FA)