SEOUL — Negotiators failed to reach final agreement this week on how much South Korea should contribute financially to support U.S. forces in South Korea, but at least one side said a deal was close.

South Korean officials emerged from a fifth round of talks saying an agreement could be announced in the next two weeks.

“A full agreement was not reached at yesterday’s meeting but most issues were agreed upon. That is a breakthrough,” Lee Jun-ho, of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s North American affairs bureau, said Wednesday.

“But we cannot release the remaining unsolved matters at this point. It takes a couple of weeks for the U.S. side to review matters on their intelligence level and send us notification of their full agreement.”

When an agreement is reached, full details will be released publicly, said Lee, one of this week’s negotiators.

U.S. Forces Korea officials said Wednesday they would have no comment until a deal was finalized.

Under the Special Measures Agreement instituted in 1991, South Korea paid $622 million in direct costs to support USFK. Gen. Leon J. LaPorte, USFK commander, testified to Congress earlier this month that South Korean government support equaled 40 percent of the command’s non-personnel costs.

LaPorte put South Korea’s total cost-sharing contribution at $1.162 billion, including $540 million in “indirect cost sharing.”

According to the annual USFK Fact Book, the bulk of the direct cost-sharing comes in labor and construction costs. South Korea in fiscal 2004 paid $279.6 million in salary for South Korean national employees of USFK and $190 million in base improvement construction costs.

South Korean contributions are increased automatically each year by 8.8 percent plus a variable annual inflation rate adjustment, the Fact Book states.

This year, South Korean officials want their financial contribution either frozen or reduced. They point to USFK downsizing and other contributions such as a deployment of South Korean soldiers to Iraq.

Hwang Hae-rym contributed to this report.

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