On Thursday, South Korea announced it would terminate its military intel-sharing pact with Japan called GSOMIA, which was signed in 2016.
The main reason for the big decision that caught many in Korea and overseas off guard was that the pact no longer serves Korea's national interest as Japan has caused a change in the bilateral security cooperation environment by imposing economic restrictions against South Korea.
Japan was quick to react, expressing regret and summoning the Korean ambassador to file a complaint and the U.S. has also strongly voiced concerns and 'disappointment' over Seoul's decision.
Today we go in-depth on the aftermath of the GSOMIA termination and the future of security affairs in Northeast Asia.
For that, we're joined by Dr. Go Myong-hyun, a Research Fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies.
1. South Korea had until this Saturday to decide whether to extend GSOMIA for another year or not, but two days ahead of the deadline, it announced the termination of the pact. Many were expecting a conditional extension of the pact but the government chose to scrap the deal altogether. What do you think is the main reason?
2. Following the big announcement, there is much attention on not just the reaction from Tokyo, but from Washington. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said he was 'disappointed' to hear the news, while the Pentagon has strongly voiced concerns over Seoul's decision. FM Kang Kyung-wha has said GSOMIA is an issue separate from the South Korea-U.S. alliance, but is it really? How do you gauge the impact on the South Korea-U.S. military alliance?
3. Seoul's defense ministry has said that GSOMIA will expire in November but South Korea will keep the Trilateral Information Sharing Arrangement, or TISA that Seoul has with Tokyo and Washington. Can TISA effectively replace GSOMIA?
4. South Korea's Deputy National Security Advisor Kim Hyun-chong today held a follow-up briefing on the GSOMIA termination and he said South Korea no longer sees it necessary to keep the military pact as Japan has rejected South Korea's numerous requests for dialogue on thorny issues including trade and the compensation of Japan's wartime force labor. How do you see his remarks?
5. GSOMIA is known to have been signed between Seoul and Tokyo mainly to better counter North Korean threats. Some are pointing out that its termination would be music to the ears to the North Korean regime. How do you think North Korea is observing this?
6. Japanese PM Shinzo Abe has said South Korea is continuing with its actions that harm bilateral trust, and Japan will strengthen cooperation with the U.S. How do you forecast future Korea-Japan relations? Is Japan likely to take further retaliatory measures?
7. South Korea and Japan had been sharing secrets on North Korea through GSOMIA. And given that the pact was facilitated by the U.S., how do you think its termination would affect future nuclear talks between North Korea and the U.S.?