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S. Korea’s Moon talks up U.S. alliance in Trump talks

NEW YORK — South Korean President Moon Jae In played up an alliance with the United States during talks with President Donald Trump on Monday, after Seoul’s decision to end an intelligence-sharing pact with Japan caused concern in the United States.


At the outset of talks ahead of the annual U.N. General Assembly session, Moon said South Korea-U.S. ties are developing into a “great alliance” and that he looks forward to “candid discussions” with Trump on strengthening them.


Trump was quoted as saying, “We’ll be talking about purchase of equipment. South Korea is one of our largest purchasers of military equipment.”


In late August, South Korea formally informed Japan of its decision not to renew the General Security of Military Information Agreement, or GSOMIA, which expires on Nov. 23, amid an intensifying spat between the two neighbors over wartime history and trade policy.


The South Korean decision has led to concern about a weakening alliance with the United States, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressing dismay at the move.


“We’re disappointed to see the decision that the South Koreans made about that information-sharing agreement,” Pompeo said shortly after the South Korean announcement.


Moon told Trump on Monday that he expects working-level talks between the United States and North Korea, to prepare for a third summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, to resume soon.


Trump, for his part, said U.S.-North Korea relations “have been very good.”


The United States and South Korea are due to start — in Seoul on Tuesday — negotiations over the cost of hosting U.S. troops which the latter is expected to shoulder from next year. The United States is likely to demand markedly larger cost-sharing from Seoul.

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