Leading experts have raised concern that trust between South Korea and the U.S. has been already damaged and the alliance have also suffered deep injury despite conditional extension of the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) between Seoul and Tokyo.
Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, and Victor Cha, Korea chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies published an op-ed entitled “The 66-year alliance between the U.S. and South Korea is in deep trouble” in Saturday’s issue of The Washington Post. “Seoul’s apparent leveraging of the valued agreement to compel Washington’s involvement in economic and historical disputes between South Korea and Japan — the United States’ two major democratic allies in the Pacific — was an act of ‘alliance abuse,’” the writers said in the piece.
“The threat to end the intelligence cooperation not only degrades the ability of the three to respond to North Korean nuclear or missile tests but also represents a potential decoupling of South Korea’s security interests from those of Japan and the United States, in a significant sign of alliance erosion,” the article reads. Armitage served as Deputy Secretary of State, and Cha as director for Asian affairs at the National Security Council under the George W. Bush administration.
The writers expressed strong concern about South Korea that seems to be leaning towards China, saying that Beijing is “looming as significant factor in the deteriorating relationship” between Seoul and Washington. Despite China’s retaliation for South Korea’s acceptance of the terminal high-altitude area defense (THAAD) missile defense system, South Korea is moving to participate in the China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and seemingly leaning towards Beijing in the U.S.-China trade war, they noted.