US urges Korea to keep security pact with Japan

08-Aug-2020 Intellasia | KoreaTimes | 6:50 AM Print This Post

The United States has urged Korea to retain its bilateral intelligence-sharing pact with Japan, after Seoul hinted at not extending it amid worsening diplomatic ties with Tokyo.

The Korean-language service of Voice of America (VOA) reported Friday that a U.S Department of State official said defense and security issues “should remain separate” from other areas of Korea-Japan relations.

The comments came after Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Kim In-chul said Tuesday the government could end the pact ? the general Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) ? “at any time regardless of the date.”

The GSOMIA is automatically renewed every year unless one country notifies the other of its decision to terminate the deal 90 days in advance. It will expire November 22.

The bilateral pact became a tool for a cycle of retaliation between the two American allies last year.

The dispute was prompted by the Korean Supreme Court’s ruling against Japanese firms linked to wartime forced labour and spread to trade and security.

The US explicitly expressed disappointment last year when Korea sought to terminate the GSOMIA, which Washington feels is crucial for three-way cooperation against North Korea’s nuclear threats and China’s growing military assertiveness.

The government decided to extend the GSOMIA at the last minute before its expiration in 2019. The 2020 situation, however, is not hopeful as retaliatory tensions are rising.

“We encourage Japan and the ROK to continue sincere discussions to ensure a lasting solution to historical issues,” the US official said.

The official added that the US would continue to pursue bilateral and trilateral security cooperation with the two Asian countries, “in recognition of our shared interests.”

https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/nation/2020/08/120_294043.html

 

Category: Korea

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