SEOUL, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha on Friday described the new defense cost-sharing accord with the United States as a foundation of the alliance.

Signing the Special Measures Agreement (SMA), she called it "the results of hard work and sometimes difficult work."

"This now becomes the foundation of one of the foundations of the alliance, and something that the alliance will build upon to become stronger and greater," Kang told Washington's top envoy in Seoul, Harry Harris, after the signing ceremony for the SMA in Seoul.

It calls for an 8.2 percent hike in Seoul's share of the cost of stationing the 28,500-strong U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) in 2019.

Last month, South Korea agreed to pay 1.04 trillion won (US$920 million) in 2019 for the operation of the 28,500-strong U.S. Forces Korea (USFK), up from 960 billion won the previous year.

Harris agreed that the agreement represents the significance of the alliance.

"It underscores the importance and the ironclad nature of our alliance between our two great nations that have worked together and represents the sacrifices of Koreans and Americans over the decades," he said.

The South Korean government has completed related administrative procedures with the signing of the pact in the wake of the Cabinet approval earlier this week.

It plans to submit the accord to the National Assembly next week for ratification with the aim of putting it into effect in April.

The U.S. does not need congressional ratification of the SMA.

Source: Yonhap news Agency