On Thursday, Seoul and Washington will hold their annual security consultative meeting in the South Korean capital.
The key issue is whether the allies will advance discussions on the timing of the envisioned transfer of wartime operational control.
The transfer is something the South Korean government has been pushing for, but the process, which includes a three-stage assessment to verify Seoul's capabilities to lead wartime operations, has slowed due to various reasons, including the pandemic.
A South Korean government official explained late last week that prior consultations had proceeded in a (quote) "very amicable" manner, unlike last year's meeting under the former Trump administration.
Expressing expectations for progress, the official added that this year's meeting will approach the issue more positively.
The 53rd SCM will be the last chance for the Moon Jae-in administration to make progress on regaining wartime OPCON before his term ends in May, 2022, although a complete transition won't be possible by then.
The allies are also likely to address ways to broaden military cooperation into wider fields, including space and cyberspace.
China-related issues will also be on the agenda.
Seoul's defense ministry also says Defense Minister Suh Wook will explain South Korea's position on an end-of-war declaration when he sits down with his U.S. counterpart, Lloyd Austin.
Kim Hyo-sun, Arirang News.