The Biden administration and South Korea are closing in on an agreement that would resolve a yearslong dispute over how to share the cost of American troops based on the Korean Peninsula, U.S. and South Korean officials say.
Headway in the talks between Seoul and Washington comes as the U.S. reached a parallel accord earlier this month with Japan that would extend that burden-sharing arrangement for a year.
The twin diplomatic moves are part of a broader push by the Biden administration to solidify ties with important allies, put aside the Trump administration’s transactional approach and settle disputes that have long roiled relations with Washington.
“It would certainly put an irritant behind us, which is not insignificant,” said Randall Schriver, who served as a senior Pentagon official for Asia during the Trump administration.
At issue in the South Korean negotiation is the approximately $2 billion cost of maintaining nearly 30,000 U.S. troops, of which Seoul now pays nearly half.