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Seoul intends to keep GSOMIA alive

Posted August. 25, 2020 07:26,   

Updated August. 25, 2020 07:26


The effectiveness of the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) between Seoul and Tokyo, which was on the verge of rupture amid extreme strains in bilateral relations a year ago, is likely to remain intact. Tacit agreement has been reached to keep the agreement as the South Korean government didn’t make any move on Monday, the deadline for announcing an end to the military intelligence pact between the two neighbors. While Seoul holds a stance that GSOMIA can be terminated any time it pleases, pundits say the inaction signals that conflicts surrounding the military agreement will likely stay dormant for a while.

The South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced Monday that it had no announcement to make in regard with GSOMIA. There were no comments on GSOMIA either from the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae. Having been extended on an annual basis until last year, the military information pact is to be either extended or terminated on August 24, 90 days before expiration. The South Korean government said it would terminate the agreement in August last year and suspended the decision in November, claiming that there is no need to make a separate announcement within the 90-day timeframe. It has been reported that Seoul will keep the current status of suspended termination as last resort.

Washington had a major influence on the latest move by South Korea. Earlier this month, the U.S. State Department said GSOMIA is highly important for the security of the United States as well, pressuring Seoul to step back. As to Japan’s export sanction against South Korea, Seoul has a weaker footing to pressure Tokyo it is currently importing the core materials of semi-conductors and display technologies such as Japanese photo registry and fluorine polyimide.

Gi-Jae Han record@donga.com