The long-delayed South Korea-U.S. defense cost-sharing pact has passed its first hurdle at the National Assembly.
The foreign affairs committee gave the green light to Seoul and Washington's renewed Special Measures Agreement on sharing the cost of stationing U.S. troops in South Korea.
Lawmakers agreed on Seoul paying some 880 million U.S. dollars annually from this year through 2018, a 5.8 percent increase from last year.
A delay of the pact's approval sparked concerns that Korean employees of U.S. Forces Korea would be forced to take unpaid leave and that affiliated firms would have to suspend operations.
The bill will now be put up for vote at a plenary session on Wednesday.