By Hideshi Takesada, visiting professor at Takushoku University
(Interviewed by Kazusa Yoda, International News Department)
The General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) is not only aimed at the seamless sharing of sensitive military information between the Japanese and South Korean governments but also carries symbolic meaning in demonstrating solidarity between the two countries. The termination of the pact only benefits North Korea, Russia, and China.
The GSOMIA was signed in 2016 under the government of then-South Korean President Park Geun-hye. The government of President Moon Jae-in, which has been trying to overturn the Park government’s achievements, was targeting the scrapping of the GSOMIA even before the deterioration of relations between Japan and South Korea.
It is certain that the public sentiment that “it is not good for Japan and South Korea to share information,” which has grown stronger since the downward spiral in relations, affected the judgement of the Moon government. South Korea may also have wanted to prioritize its relations with North Korea over those with Japan by scrapping the GSOMIA, which has been criticized by the North.
But the effect of terminating the agreement in the teeth of U.S. opposition is far greater than the Moon government thinks. It is expected that the U.S. will take tougher measures against South Korea, such as pressing harder for it to pay more of the cost of keeping U.S. troops stationed there and announcing the reduction of U.S. Forces Korea.