The consequences from the Moon Jae-in administration’s decision to end General Security Of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) is being felt by the ROK-US alliance. With Pyongyang firing short-range ballistic missiles to drive a wedge between the tripartite ties among Seoul, Tokyo, and Washington, U.S. President Donald Trump is expressing ire over the joint military exercise with South Korea, calling it “a total waste of money.” Concern is further fueled that should the Trump administration conclude Seoul’s withdrawal from the military intelligence-sharing deal will lead to an increase in security costs, it might make a push on Seoul during the next year’s cost-sharing negotiations for the U.S. forces stationed in South Korea while cutting back on the scale of joint military drills between the two allies.
In an opening speech for his summit meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which took place in France, the host country of G7 meeting, President Trump said Sunday that the combined military exercise is “unnecessary,” and it is a “total waste of money.” It was such a blatant complaint over the cost of Seoul and Washington’s annual joint military exercises, a pillar of the two countries’ security alliance. U.S. State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus tweeted that America is deeply “disappointed and concerned” over Seoul’s decision to terminate GSOMIA. The spokesperson also added that this will make defending South Korea “more complicated and increase risk to U.S. forces." Her remarks translate into a concern that Seoul’s move to leave the deal will shake the foundation of the alliance between the three nations, leading to an increase in costs that Washington needs to bear to maintain the security order in North East Asia.
Indeed, it goes indisputable by the officials from the two nations that the first “bill” from Washington to be sent to Seoul will be increased amounts of defense costs. The negotiation in March reached an agreed amount worth 1.39 trillion won for the year of 2019, up 8.2 percent from last year. With the explicit pressure from U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton and Defence Secretary Mark Esper expressed in their consecutive visits to Seoul and the rupture of GSOMIA, however, many experts said that Washington will demand a steeper increase in defense cost. Exercise Vigilant Ace, the combined air force military drill that has been conducted every December, will likely to be canceled this year as well following the recent precedent from last year.
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