A series of security meetings are lined up this week between South Korea and the U.S. where Washington is expected to ramp up pressure on Seoul in terms of defense costs and GSOMIA.
Top military officers from Seoul and Washington are to meet later this week at their Military Committee Meeting on Thursday and Security Consultative Meeting on Friday.
The two sides are to discuss the recent security situation surrounding the Korean Peninsula and their combined combat readiness as well as the transfer of wartime operational control.
But a big talking point is likely to be the cost of stationing U.S. troops in South Korea.
Washington has reportedly demanded that Seoul pay nearly 5 billion U.S. dollars for next year, which would be over five times what Seoul is paying now, and therefore unacceptable from Seoul's point of view.
In addition, the U.S. is expected to press South Korea to keep its bilateral intel-sharing pact with Japan, GSOMIA.
Seoul decided to terminate the deal in August, after Japan adopted export curbs against South Korea, citing a breach of trust in security issues.
Unless South Korea rescinds its decision, the pact will automatically expire next Saturday.
"U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley are expected to stress very strongly the necessity of keeping GSOMIA for close security coordination among South Korea, the U.S. and Japan."
Discussions on GSOMIA will continue in meetings to follow.
After the Security Consultative Meeting, both defense chiefs are flying to Thailand for the ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting.
There, the military chiefs of South Korea, the U.S., and Japan will sit down for trilateral talks and a bilateral meeting between Seoul and Tokyo could also happen.
South Korea's current stance is that it will go ahead and terminate GSOMIA unless Tokyo withdraws its export restrictions.
Eyes are on whether Seoul will change its mind next week if the bilateral Japan talks happen.
Oh Jung-hee, Arirang News.