The Pentagon reacted with dismay on Thursday over South Korea’s announcement that is axing an intelligence sharing agreement with Japan, urging the two sides to come to another arrangement quickly, citing safety concerns.
“The Department of Defense expresses our strong concern and disappointment that the Moon Administration has withheld its renewal of the Republic of Korea’s General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) with Japan,” said Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Dave Eastburn, referring to South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
“We strongly believe that the integrity of our mutual defense and security ties must persist despite frictions in other areas of the [Republic of Korea]-Japan relationship. We’ll continue to pursue bilateral and trilateral defense and security cooperation where possible with Japan and the ROK.”
South Korea earlier on Thursday announced that it would scrap the agreement — intended to enable the sharing of information between the two countries related to the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs — over ongoing diplomatic and trade disputes.
The GSOMIA was set to automatically renew on Saturday, barring a decision from either side to cancel it, but Seoul accused Tokyo of creating a “grave change” by removing South Korea’s fast-track export status.
The deal’s cancellation is leading to concerns that Japan and South Korea could be less prepared for aggression from North Korea, as it comes in the midst of a series of short-range projectile launches by Pyongyang.
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