The U.S. and South Korea have reached a deal to discuss funding for American troops this year, local media reported, a step that could ease friction between the allies after former President Donald Trump once demanded a five-fold increase.
South Korea and the U.S. agreed to begin talks soon on a funding pact, the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper and other media reported, citing diplomats they didn't name. It added Seoul may aim to reach an agreement later this year.
The reason to speed up the normal calendar for talks is to try and reach an agreement ahead of a potential new Trump administration taking office, the newspaper reported. The current deal expires at the end of 2025.
“Our government plans to systematically and strategically prepare for the next round of negotiations while holding close consultations between South Korea and the U.S.,” Lim Soo-suk, a South Korean foreign ministry spokesman, said at a regular briefing on Tuesday.
Yonhap News reported that the two sides agreed to start talks this year, citing a diplomatic source, but added it's difficult to say whether an agreement can be reached in 2024.
Trump, when he was president, had asked South Korea to contribute about $5 billion for hosting some 28,500 American military personnel, well above the one-year deal in effect from 2020 where Seoul paid about $1 billion.
The price tag originated with the White House, according to people familiar with the matter, and…