Less than 50 days into the Biden presidency, South Korea and the U.S. have agreed to a new defense cost sharing deal that will run through 2025.
Details on the Special Measures Agreement have yet to be made public and the agreement still has to be approved by Korea's National Assembly, but it will see a "meaningful increase" in contributions from South Korea, according to a U.S. State Department spokesperson.
The breakthrough came in Washington on Sunday, local time, during face-to-face talks led by Korea’s chief negotiator Jeong Eun-bo and his American counterpart Donna Welton.
South Korea's Foreign Ministry, in a press release, said it hopes the deal will contribute to a stronger alliance, which it described as crucial to peace on the peninsula and Northeast Asia as a whole.
Likewise, the U.S. State Department said it is pleased that negotiators have "reached consensus on a proposed text".
The Wall Street Journal reports that the agreement between Seoul and Washington comes as the U.S. reached a parallel accord on burden sharing with Japan last month.
The twin diplomatic moves are part of the Biden administration's broader plan to solidify ties with its key allies.
An official announcement may be made when U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visit South Korea later this month.
Last year, South Korea offered to increase its share of costs by 13 percent but failed to reach a final deal due to the Trump administration's firm adherence to a much steeper hike.
The latest round of meetings was the ninth since the last deal expired in 2019.
Han Seong-woo, Arirang News.