With Seoul-Tokyo relations deteriorating over the South Korean court orders to sell off assets owned by Japanese companies that used Korean victims of forced labor during Japan’s colonial rule on the Korean Peninsula, the U.S. State Department commented on the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA). “It is also crucial to U.S. national security interest,” the department said. Washington thus apparently pressured the South Korean government, which has said, “GSOMIA can be terminated anytime.”
The ability to quickly and efficiently share military information between the ROK and Japan is critical not only to the security interests of the ROK and Japan, but also the United States, and to the stability of the broader region, an official at the State Department’s press office told Voice of America on Thursday. The official added that the United States strongly believes that defense and security issues should remain separate from other areas of the ROK-Japan relationship.
“The statement on Tuesday by the South Korean foreign ministry spokesperson that Seoul could terminate GSOMIA anytime was (just) a reminder that South Korea has GSOMIA as a bargaining chip. We will have to wait to see the situation in South Korea-Japan relations until the end to find whether Seoul uses this bargaining chip or not,” a source in the South Korean government said. “It would not be easy to actually terminate GSOMIA.”
Ji-Sun Choi email@example.com