The South Korean government is reviewing ways to strengthen practical security cooperation between South Korea and Japan based on the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA). The government wishes to remove the ‘conditional’ status of the GSOMIA, which has been conditionally suspended, and pursue working-level exchanges with Japan to ensure the effectiveness of the GSOMIA. South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin said South Korea wants to normalize the GSOMIA as soon as possible during a press conference following his meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday (local time). Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan Hirokazu Matsuno said it would contribute to the peace and stability of the region in response to Park’s statement.
“The normalization of the GSOMIA obviously means it would permanently take effect, rather than being conditionally extended,” said a key member of the South Korean government in a phone conversation with The Dong-A Ilbo. “We are looking into specific channels and ways for working-level exchanges that are needed and feasible between the two countries based on the basic frame of the GSOMIA.”
The South Korean government’s intention to strengthen security cooperation with Japan is to address the threats of North Korea’s sophisticated nuclear weapons and missiles. Park also pointed to joint responses to North Korean threats while mentioning the normalization of the GSOMIA. Some predict that it will be an opportunity for South Korea and Japan to resolve complicated bilateral relations. As the leaders of the two countries will attend a summit meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on June 29 through 30, a summit between the two leaders may be held. Japan’s reaction is the key. It has been known that there is a strong sentiment in Japan that the issue of compensation for the victims of forced labor should be addressed first.