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U.S. puts pressure against expiry of S. Korea-Japan GSOMIA

U.S. puts pressure against expiry of S. Korea-Japan GSOMIA

Posted November. 04, 2019 07:29,   

Updated November. 04, 2019 07:29


As the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) between South Korea and Japan will expire on November 22, the U.S. government is expanding its last-minute involvement in the issue by putting pressure against the expiry of the GSOMIA. Experts believe that a series of meetings among the three countries concerned, including South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Thailand on Sunday to attend the ASEAN+3 summit, will be the final turning point for the issue.

"Nobody is happy with the situation. Actually not nobody -- there are people happy with the situation, but they happen to be in Beijing, Moscow and Pyongyang," said Marc Knapper, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Korea and Japan at the State Department's Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, during an interview with Japanese media on Saturday. He also added that the long-term tensions between South Korea and Japan, including the GSOMIA issue, is adversely affecting the alliance among the three countries. “We’ve been clearly communicating with the South Korean government about the negative impact that the GSOMIA’s expiry will bring on the national interests of the U.S.,” said Joseph Young, the acting ambassador of the U.S. to Japan, on the same day. Multiple figures of the U.S. Department of State are raising pressure against the expiry of the GSOMIA claiming that such an outcome will only benefit China, Russia, and North Korea.

The difference in attitude between South Korea and the U.S. with regards to the GSOMIA issue was revealed during a meeting between the assistant foreign ministers of the two countries held in Thailand on Saturday. The U.S. State Department said the meeting between David Stilwell, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and Yun Soon-gu, assistant minister of the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, reconfirmed the importance of the trilateral cooperation among South Korea, the U.S., and Japan. Meanwhile, the South Korean Foreign Affairs Ministry said, “Assistant Minister Yun called for the U.S. to provide support during the course to restore South Korea-Japan relations.”

South Korea-U.S. and South Korea-Japan will have last-minute discussions to find a resolution regarding the GSOMIA issue from this week. President Moon and Prime Minister Abe are expected to meet as both are attending the ASEAN+3 summit in Bangkok, Thailand to be held from Sunday while Assistant Secretary of State Stilwell will meet with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha on Tuesday in Seoul.

Gi-Jae Han record@donga.com