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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Seoul to Save GSOMIA Intel-Sharing Pact with Japan

KBS World Radio

Write: 2019-11-22 18:15:48/Update: 2019-11-22 19:09:21

Anchor: Just six hours before the expiration of the General Security of Military Information Agreement(GSOMIA) with Japan, South Korea announced that it will not let the deal expire on Friday at midnight. The uncertain fate of GSOMIA has been an indicator of the deteriorating relations between Seoul and Tokyo. However, with South Korea putting a brake on the further worsening of ties, top diplomats from the two sides are soon expected to hold a meeting to find a long-term solution
Kim Bum-soo has more.

Report: Seoul will not let the General Security of Military Information Agreement, or GSOMIA, with Japan expire.

The military intelligence sharing agreement was set to end Friday at midnight but in a last-ditch effort, Seoul and Tokyo explored the possibility of pushing back the expiration date and creating a grace period to find a solution.

After the final decision was reached at the National Security Council meeting on Friday, deputy national security adviser Kim You-geun held a news conference just six hours before the pact was set to expire.

[Sound bite: Kim You-geun - deputy director of S. Korean Presidential National Security Office (Korean)]
"The South Korean and Japanese governments have decided to announce simultaneously our respective decisions aimed at resolving bilateral pending issues. Based on the condition that the effect of the General Security of Military Information Agreement can expire at anytime, our government will nullify our August 23, 2019 notification [to Japan] of the deal's expiration. The Japanese government expressed its acceptance. While South Korea and Japan continue their export regulation discussions, South Korea will halt the WTO dispute settlement process on Japan's export control measures on three items."

A presidential official in Seoul explained that the expiration of GSOMIA is only temporarily on hold and the grace period will not continue for long.

Meanwhile, citing a Japanese official, Kyodo News reported that Tokyo is willing to hold talks with Seoul to discuss the pending trade issues but its basic stances have not changed on the matter.

Signed in November of 2016, GSOMIA has served as a platform for U.S.-led trilateral security cooperation with South Korea and Japan. However, the uncertain fate of the pact has recently been an indicator of deteriorating Seoul-Tokyo relations.

After the South Korean Supreme Court ordered Japanese companies to compensate the victims of colonial-era forced labor, Tokyo in July toughened export control measures on key high-tech materials that South Korea imports to produce semiconductors and displays. Seoul in response announced the following month that it could not maintain the military intelligence pact with Tokyo.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha is now expected to discuss ways to improve Seoul-Tokyo relations when she meets her Japanese counterpart Toshimitsu Motegi over the weekend on the sidelines of the G20 Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Nagoya.

Kim Bum-soo, KBS World Radio News.

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