February 28, 2014 12:05
Koreans working at U.S. military bases here may be forced to take unpaid leave if the National Assembly fails to approve a cost-sharing bill, the Foreign Ministry said Thursday. The delay could also prevent Korean contractors from being paid for products and services they provide to the U.S. Forces Korea.
The National Assembly's Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee originally intended to discuss a new cost-sharing agreement on Wednesday. But the main opposition Democratic Party boycotted the meeting, insisting that yet another scandal involving the National Intelligence Service be discussed first.
In an earlier meeting, DP lawmakers refused to approve the agreement, taking issue with some areas. The Saenuri Party demanded another meeting Thursday, but the DP refused, making it unlikely that the bill can be passed during the February session of the National Assembly.
That would mean Korean workers at U.S. military bases here will not be paid from April, while small and mid-sized builders will be unable to continue projects.
Much the same mechanisms were responsible for last year's shutdown of the U.S. federal government.
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