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U.S. to press South Korea to continue defense intelligence sharing with Japan

  • November 9, 2019
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All Saturday morning papers reported on Defense Secretary Esper’s planned trip to South Korea this week, speculating that he is likely to ask Seoul to reconsider its plan to terminate GSOMIA. Yomiuri added that following his visit to Seoul, Secretary Esper will probably exchange views on GSOMIA in trilateral talks with his Japanese and ROK counterparts in Thailand on the margins of an ASEAN defense ministerial meeting. Yomiuri also wrote on Sunday that Defense Minister Kono is likely to hold a one-on-one meeting with his ROK counterpart in the Thai capital and ask him to reconsider the plan to terminate GSOMIA.


Today’s Nikkei observed that Japan is taking a wait-and-see attitude on the subject while the U.S. is ratcheting up the pressure on Seoul to maintain GSOMIA. The daily noted that in addition to the purported bilateral defense ministerial meeting in Bangkok on Nov. 17, Motegi and Kang might meet in Nagoya on Nov. 22 on the sidelines of the G20 foreign ministerial conference in an eleventh-hour effort to save the agreement.    


Meanwhile, Tuesday’s Yomiuri and Sankei highlighted press remarks made on Sunday by a senior Blue House official. The official reportedly said the Moon administration is willing to reconsider terminating the agreement if ROK-Japan relations are “normalized.” The official underscored that Japan must first end its tighter restrictions on certain Korea-bound products. He also claimed that the impact of the GSOMIA termination on national security would be limited and is unrelated to the U.S.-ROK alliance. According to the papers, on Monday Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga dismissed the Blue House official’s comment linking GSOMIA to Japan’s export control. 

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